#eFairnessNZ – closing the GST loophole

New Zealand is currently seriously disadvantaged by a loophole that means that people do not pay GST or duty on low-value purchases (generally goods less than $400 in value) when they buy from foreign websites. This creates a reverse tariff which unfairly discriminates against Kiwi retailers. Booksellers NZ are working hard alongside Retail NZ to level the playing field for local retailers including our membership bookstores.  
Booksellers NZ firmly believes it is the responsibility of parliament to ensure GST is a universal tax by requiring all retailers – whether they operate online, in bricks-and-mortar stores, or a combination of both – to fulfil their obligation to collect sales tax.
This is neither a new tax nor special treatment for independent bookstores – it is an equitable and consistent enforcement of existing GST laws. 
Locally owned businesses have far greater positive economic impact on their communities and are largely responsible for our communities retaining their unique characteristics. The Here’s what you just did flier lists 10 ways that your customers contribute to the infrastructure of their community by shopping locally. The current de minimis threshold enables offshore online retailers a 15 percent competitive edge over local businesses and contributes nothing to the sustainability of the New Zealand economy. 
The Government is missing out on at least $200 million a year in revenue from low value goods, not counting GST that would otherwise be paid on cross-border services and digital downloads delivered into New Zealand. That's a huge amount of tax money!
What is GST Fairness? (Also called eFairness)
E-Fairness, or sales tax fairness, calls for the equitable enforcement of GST as a universal tax. Currently, bricks-and-mortar retailers are required to collect and remit sales tax on customer purchases, while offshore online retailers are allowed to sell customers the same products with no responsibility to collect GST if it falls below the existing de minimis threshold. This places local retailers at a severe disadvantage and has prompted Booksellers NZ to act on behalf of our members.
Booksellers NZ and Retail NZ #eFairnessNZ campaign 
In April 2015 Retail NZ and Booksellers NZ are launching a #eFairnessNZ campaign to encourage the government to take urgent action to close the existing de minimis loophole – and we need your help. 
What can booksellers do?
Write to your local MP and let them know that you support eFairness in New Zealand: tell them how the existing GST loop hole is impairing the progress of your store and the financial and cultural well-being of your local community. We have also supplied a helpful list matching local bookstores to their local MP's. (Please note this list is as accurate and up to date as possible but may contain some errors.)
Booksellers NZ have provided the eFairness Action Kit to make this outreach easier.

E-Fairness Action Kit

What does Government need to do?
  • Require overseas companies to register for GST, and collect the tax just like any other retailer does.
  • Introduce a lower threshold for low value goods or abolish the threshold - where GST and duty has not been pre-paid, this should be collected at the border before the items are released.
  • Levy a fee on goods worth more than $25 to cover the cost of Customs and quarantine clearance, as happens in most other countries.
Key things to know
  • New Zealand is out of step with most other countries.
  • Canada has a CAD 20 threshold and the UK has a GBP 15 threshold. Tax is collected on all imports over these levels, as well as a fee to cover the costs of Customs clearance.
  • The Government is missing out on huge amounts of revenue as a result of the current loophole – enough to fund at least 4,345 new first-year primary teachers or more than 9,000 hip replacements.
  • The current loophole makes it hard for Kiwi retailers to compete with foreign websites that don't contribute to New Zealand.
  • The Government is looking at this issue through the OECD but most countries already charge tax on low value items crossing the border. The Government can and should take urgent action to close the loophole.
How can you help?
  • Please write urgently to your local MP. Please let them know how this issue is impacting your business and your community and what it would mean for your business and employees if the loophole was fixed. Booksellers NZ have provided an MP letter template on our website. Adjust this template to suit your store and your local MP.
  • Please use social media to tell the world about the impacts on your business. Use the #eFairnessNZ hashtag to tell your story.
  • Please tell your customers about how important it is to allow New Zealand stores to survive in a competitive world.
  • Check out the media links, template letters, submissions and other handy tools that Retail NZ have provided on their website to help engage your customers and communities in the debate:
  • Add your signature to the online community of people supporting change
What can the Government buy with $200 million?  
  • 4,345 new first-year primary school teachers
  • 9,091 hip replacements
  • six Radio New Zealands
  • 1,484 backbench MP salaries
  • 396,747 weeks of paid parental leave
Resources for bookstores
  • Local MP Letter Template: Click through, or find this in the list of file attachments below
  • Local Press Release TemplateClick through, or find this in the list of file attachments below
  • Find Your Local MP: We have created a document that lists local and MPs and their addresses and matches them to the relevant membership bookstores. Please note this list is as accurate and up to date as possible but could contain some errors.  
#eFairnessNZ Logos
Other links
For more information, contact:, tel 04 472 1908

Kobo for booksellers

On this page you will find a variety of tools for training purposes. The documents detail the unique selling points of Kobo devices and also contain helpful comparisons to other eReaders, including the Kindle. This information will help you effectively retail Kobo devices to a range of customers.  

The following resources will be added to and updated frequently.  Please check back for updates.

Devices Images and Specs
Kobo device images and specs (opens to PDF)

Display Fixtures
Here are the two display fixtures we have asked stores to choose from:
1.    One is a small counter top fixture. See an image of the small fixture.
2.    One is a free standing unit that can easily be accommodated into a range of stores.  See an image of the large fixture.

We do recommend actively selling the accessories at the point of purchase. It is often quite simple to sell a cover for a Kobo device in the same purchase. Get your staff in to the habit of offering the covers to customers when they are shopping for devices. Each store should be expecting to sell a cover with approx 80% of devices sold.

Retail Tools for Booksellers
Webinar/Skype Training Sessions: more information coming shortly.

Bookseller Training Videos
These videos function as great dummies guides. They take you through everything from opening the box to charging up the device for the first time. A good resource for the complete luddite.

Getting help with Kobo
Kobo has a customer care team who can help with any questions you might have - Booksellers NZ members can contact them on

Kobo Mini Unboxing...

Kobo Glo Unboxing...

Three-way comparison of Kobo Touch, Kobo Glo, and Kobo Mini

Product Information
These documents have been prepared by Kobo and contain all your need to know information to train staff on how to sell Kobo devices.

The word documents break the info on the Glo and Mini down into 3-5 key points.

Kobo Mini retail selling points (opens to Word)
Kobo Glo retail selling points (opens to Word)

The PowerPoint documents are large and comprehensive product guides with great images. We recommend printing these out and having permanently available for staff to study up on.

Kobo Mini Retail Aid for Booksellers (opens to PowerPoint) (source: Kobo)
Kobo Glo Retail Aid for Booksellers (opens to PowerPoint) (source: Kobo)

Extra Tools
We have also included a multi device brochure and posters for the Kobo Glo and Mini which you can choose to print out and display in store and also give to your customers.

General cross device brochure on Kobo (opens to PDF)
Kobo Mini Colour Poster
(opens to PDF - huge file)
Kobo Glo Colour Poster
(opens to PDF - huge file)
Mini and Glo demo mode and set up instructions
(opens to PowerPoint)

Kobo Returns Process
DOA Period (within 30 Days of purchase)

Customer returns device to place of purchase
Place of purchase replaces faulty device for customer
Place of purchase requests RA from Synnex for full credit

Warranty Period (outside 30 Days of purchase)

Customer contacts Kobo Customer Care on 00-800-3322-3344
Kobo assess customer unit for fault
Kobo issues an RMA for faulty unit to Customer
Customer mails unit to Kobo
Kobo replaces unit with 4 days via post

Australia to reduce GST de minimis to zero?

Federal Government and State Treasurers expect to eliminate GST Low Value Threshold on offshore retail purchases
On Friday morning State Treasurers will be meeting with Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey to discuss reform to the GST. It is being widely reported that the Federal Government and State Treasurers will agree to eliminate the Low Value Threshold on online offshore purchases – bringing tax fairness to the collection of GST.

Hot topics, hot property

by Elizabeth Heritage
This week, The Read investigates publishing on current affairs and hot-topic issues in Aotearoa: why we do it, how it’s received, and how it sells.
To begin with, I spoke to some publishers who are producing these kinds of books: Bridget Williams Books, Potton & Burton, and Awa Press. I also talked to a publisher-distributor, Bateman. I then talked to some booksellers, Marcus Greville at Otago University Books, Juliet Blyth at Vic Books, Hamish Wright at PaperPlus Cambridge, and Carson’s Bookshop. 

Publishing on the big issues

Early reading the focus of Global Education Systems’ Bud-e

Good news, booksellers – noted New Zealand children’s educational publishers Global Education Systems have devised completely new programs and products for early reading for the retail market. Recently launched, the new concept is for both local and major international markets.

The Bude-e system is both low-tech – colourful, brief books – and cutting-edge tech with animated apps that include both storytelling and interactive aspects. The range goes from a large selection of books retailing at $6.99 through to the extensive app with captivating poetry, song, reading and teaching sequences.

Australian Literary industry wants zero GST threshold on offshore book purchases

Australia’s book industry: authors, publishers, booksellers and rights managers are calling on the Federal and State Governments to reduce the Low Value Threshold on offshore purchases to zero.
The Australian Society of Authors, the Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Booksellers Association, the Copyright Agency and the Australian Council of Small Business back suggested changes to level the playing field in terms of GST payments on goods purchased offshore, such as books.

Booksellers NZ & Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd Annual Report 2015



Full-time Bookseller, The Children's Bookshop, Wellington

The Children's Bookshop Wellington is looking for a bookseller to join us at a senior level.
The position will be permanent 38/40 hours per week on 5 days (rostered between Monday and Saturday) and will require you to work during school holidays.

The successful applicant will firstly be able to demonstrate a passion for and knowledge of children’s literature across the genre.

International Publishing Trends & what they mean for booksellers

Publishers and booksellers talk to each other a lot, and that’s good. Last week The Read had the chance to join the Publishers Association of NZ International Summit in Auckland and hear the recent achievements and future plans of Australian company Scribe Publishing’s Henry Rosenbloom and the UK’s Will Atkinson of Atlantic Books. 
Currently, both are relatively small publishers, but both men are entrepreneurial and determined on international growth. Rosenbloom has even ‘taken the coal to Newcastle’ by opening an office for Scribe in London!

Get on board with the #eFairnessNZ Campaign

This week, Booksellers NZ and Retail NZ launched an #eFairnessNZ campaign to encourage parliament to close the existing GST loophole which allows some low value goods to be imported free of GST and duty. Currently, retailers across New Zealand face a 15% disadvantage in their terms of trade before they open their doors to customers each day, because offshore online retailers are allowed to import goods worth up to $400 into the country without a requirement to pay GST – the so-called universal tax. Retail NZ and Booksellers NZ are calling this a matter of eFairness.