Amazon, Forced to Collect a Tax, Is Adding Roots

By building warehouses across the country, the retailer hopes to cut as much as a day off its two-day shipping times.

Booksellers concede that Amazon, which offers a flat annual rate for fast shipping to encourage frequent orders, is still likely to be cheaper even when it collects taxes. The most Mr. Barnard can hope is that Amazon’s notoriously low margins — it makes little more than a penny for every dollar in sales — will eventually catch up with it. “Same-day delivery is very, very expensive,” he said.

States began aggressively asserting that Amazon should collect taxes in 2008, when New York passed a law compelling the company to do so. Amazon is challenging the law in court but is collecting the tax for now.

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