The major ebook distribution retailers are notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to giving out specific information on their ebook and e-reader sales, but Amazon was recently forced to disclose some highly sensitive information to Parliament’s PAC, or Public Accounts Committee, alongside fellow giants Starbucks and Google over disputes about the amounts of taxes owed.
Amazon’s Director of EU Public Policy, Andrew Cecil, initially informed Parliament in mid-November that Amazon is not in the habit of releasing that level of information, but later agreed to supply the PAC with the sales figures they needed to determine if the taxation was correct.
Unfortunately, in a document that was marked several times as confidential and with several references made by Cecil to the confidential nature of the information, the precise sales figures were leaked to the public via Parliament’s own website where Cecil’s full document was posted. According to the document, Cecil clearly states:
“Although we have not publicly disclosed net sales generated from specific websites targeting EU countries or elsewhere, in response to the committee request, we would like to share with you on a confidential basis net sales generated from the Amazon.co.uk website over the past three years.”
There seem to have been some discrepancies between the initial sales information provided from Amazon UK and the figures provided in Cecil’s document, which the PAC is looking into and will be expected to comment on later. There was also a lengthy explanation of Amazon’s structuring within the EU and how VAT is paid out.