Readers and writers throw the book at Amazon over taxes | @guardianletters

Letters: Calling for a shoppers' boycott is trite and ineffective. Ms Hodge should call for the chancellor to end this form of tax avoidance

Amazon pays £4.2m tax on sales worth £4.3bn (Amazon boycott urged, 10 May). "An outrage," says Margaret Hodge, "we should shop elsewhere." Of course it is outrageous. Equally outrageous is the government's failure to legislate to ensure Amazon and its like pay their fair share of UK taxes. Calling for a shoppers' boycott is trite and ineffective. Consumers will buy where they find best value. Ms Hodge should call for the chancellor to end this form of tax avoidance. Amazon's subsequent tax contributions should then be truly amazonian. Shoppers simply shop. Parliament legislates. The public accounts committee monitors and advises parliament, not consumers. Ms Hodge should demand that legislation.
Jeff Hanna

• Margaret Hodge urges consumers to boycott Amazon. While Tory MP Charlie Elphicke calls its tax accounting "unfair". Of course, they can't be seen to be doing anything about it – that would be "anti-business". Better to get the consumer to do their dirty work for them.
Neil Davies
Warninglid, West Sussex

• Rather than a boycott, shouldn't UK business take a leaf out of the Amazon book? John Lewis, Tesco, PC World and all other big retailers should join Amazon by forming companies in Luxembourg that then own all of their stock and trademarks. After this, their UK store staff and warehouses merely provide sales and delivery services in the UK and get the same tax breaks as Amazon. Through the offshoring of soaring profits even bigger monopolies can be created, such as that developed by Pfizer. The problem of a much-impoverished UK Treasury may damage the brave new business model, with disintegrated roads inhibiting deliveries to increasingly sick customers failed by a cash-poor NHS. But surely Downing Street can come up with an answer?
Martin Goldman

• Like many other authors, especially those who attempt to self-publish, I wholeheartedly agree with Margaret Hodge's comments on Amazon's tax avoidance. However, it is not only its tax avoidance which is abhorrent. Many Amazon customers don't realise the enormous profit margin it works on. Over the last two months my book, which I have self-published, has been purchased by Amazon at its usual 60% discount. This meant that for my book, which cost £7 a book to produce and market (not write!), I received, after the publishers took their 15% for storage and administration, the immense sum of £2.50.

This hefty discount only works well for print runs of hundreds of thousands when the production costs per book are much less. The profit that Amazon makes from their non-productive work as an online retailer is not only greedy, but probably unique. It's not only time for customers to boycott the company, but also publishers as well. When a company, which doesn't produce anything, makes such an enormous profit and then avoids paying tax on that profit, it is doubly immoral.
Anne McGarry

• Recommend boycott of Amazon and use instead.
Brian Robinson
Brentwood, Essex

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