Home » Amazon, Big Publishing » AAP Objects to Trump’s China Shift: Only Children’s Book Tariffs Delayed

AAP Objects to Trump’s China Shift: Only Children’s Book Tariffs Delayed

14 August 2019

From Publishing Perspectives:

In her statement issued today (August 13), the Association of American Publishers‘ president and CEO Maria A. Pallante has pointed out that the book publishing industry is in no way out of the woods, as Donald Trump’s administration continues its lurching sequence of threats and feints on a proposed US$300 billion in new tariffs on goods imported from China.

“We remain deeply concerned,” Pallante says in her statement, “that a wide range of other books remain on the list, including American fiction and nonfiction books; art books; textbooks; dictionaries and encyclopedias; and technical, scientific and professional books.”

Moving to delay the levy of tariffs on certain classifications of goods until December 15—ostensibly to avoid damaging the American holiday season revenue for many industries—the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) offices in Washington have included (as described on the agency’s listings):

  • 4903.00.40 Children’s picture, drawing, or coloring books
  • 4910.00.20  Calendars printed on paper or paperboard in whole or in part by a lithographic process, not over 0.51 mm in thickness

And Bibles—which perhaps with some irony are said to be printable almost exclusively by Chinese presses—are off the tariff lists.

But, as Jim Milliot at Publishers Weekly sums up the remainder, about which Pallante is expressing the association’s concern, “All other [than children’s] books printed in China, including trade, education, and professional titles, are still subject to 10-percent tariffs beginning September 1.”

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives

PG did a quick and dirty online search to see if he could find the locations of Amazon’s print on demand presses. He found an item that said European POD Amazon books were printed in Europe, but found nothing about KDP hardcopy printing locations elsewhere.

Amazon, Big Publishing

37 Comments to “AAP Objects to Trump’s China Shift: Only Children’s Book Tariffs Delayed”

  1. FWIW, my KDP books were stamped Charleston, South Carolina, back when CreateSpace was a thing (they were based in S.C.)

    I just checked my last batch of books. They were printed in Middletown, Delaware.

  2. All my Amazon paperbacks (meaning the books I’ve written) are printed in the United States.

  3. CreateSpace books are regionally printed. Whenever I order indie books or proof copies, they came from Lexington, Kentucky. Except for the time Lexington had some kind of torrential storm that kept UPS from operating, and CreateSpace printed the books in Charleston instead. I was startled that I could talk to a human so easily, without jumping through phone hoops.

    I honestly don’t see the selling point of printing books in China, so I shrug at the tariff problems. We have printers here. And if books must be printed abroad for some reason, can’t publishers pick a country that doesn’t imprison people for badthink? I know a photographer who outsources his photo editing to a company in South Korea. It fits his schedule, since he sends them the photos before he sleeps, and they’re finished when he wakes up.

    • The phrase ‘penny wise/pound foolish’ would fit trad-pub if they’d ever actually been penny wise … 😉

      • It’s a trade-off between printing cost and time to market.

        The materials and printing costs are lower, even after paying for shipment on a slow boat from China. Minimum transit time port to port is 2 weeks but depending on scheduling could be three. Add in plant to port and port wait times and you’re looking at a month or more depending on volume and aggregation of batches. Plus port wait time at LA and a couple days port to distribution center (Ingram?).

        Considering acceptance to shipping for a specific manuscript runs 12-18 months, the savings add up when explaining themselves to their overlords.

  4. Tariffs, schmariffs – so what?

    The entire world tariffs us and their citizens don’t pay extra, why can’t we tax them (China) back finally?

    Those telling you that Trump taxing China will come out of your pocket are lying liars with not so hidden agendas.

    Bottom line: don’t worry.

  5. Have the publishers thought of telling the Chinese they will pay 25% less than they had been paying, or else they will print somewhere else? That’s what the other US importers are doing.

    • A lot of manufacturers are accelerating their move out of China to Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philipines. All worthy sites that don’t rip off IP.

      Between the (bipartisan) trade war and the developing Hong Kong mess, the uncrowned emperor is facing unexpected…issues. And the belt defaults are yet to come.

  6. I hear prophecies of doom because . . . tariffs. Hmmm.

    In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the United States became the world’s largest industrial economy. The US had tariffs then.

    I am old enough to remember when the US had a thriving textile industry and the ILGWU made a great argument for us to ‘Buy American’ and Look for the union label.

    My thoughts on tariffs? Bring ’em.

    Screw the Free Trade theory. That theory makes the unstated assumption “All things being equal . . . .” All things are not equal. The laws of the PRC are not the laws of the US. Chinese companies do not operate like American companies. There can be no level playing field between the US and the PRC. One side must have the advantage. I prefer that side be the US.

    I met an American account that Siemens sent to Shanghai to do the books on its operation there. Why did not Siemens use the plant’s Chinese accountants? Because in the West, the purpose of accounting is to present an accurate picture of the business’s finances so that the bosses can make good decisions; in the East, the purpose of accounting is to make the boss look good. Chinese accountants go back and ‘rectify’ projections to fit reality like the Ministry of Truth in 1984. For western purposes, Chinese accounting is worse than useless.

    Now if you will excuse me, my Korean wife is experimenting with cooking lasagna. In a wok. With what’s available. And I am the official taster. Why? Because I am the only one of us who has tasted lasagna before. I just ate a brussel sprout. Cooked into lasagna. Not as a side dish. In the lasagna. I don’t see anything in this mass that looks like it ever met a tomato.

    Pray for me.

    • Lasagna in a wok? Perhaps a detail or two was lost in translation? 🙂

      Report back on culinary adventures, if you survive 🙂

      • Jamie, No, nothing was lost in translation. I played three videos of how to make lasagna and the Worth It comparison of lasagnas for her. She talked bechamel for days but did not include bechamel in her composition. (!?) I asked why she chose to ignore the oven and cook the lasagna in the wok. I got THAT LOOK that means ‘Don’t ask.’

        What came out of this attempt did not taste bad, but it was lasagna only in my wife’s fevered Korean imagination.

        Oh, I should also mention that she served it to me but did not eat any herself.

        • Your wife is a bit odd (for values of “odd” in America), but may not be a heretic.

          When I’ve looked at recipes for “lasagna,” the only absolute requirements seemed to be that it 1) incorporate lasagna pasta and 2) hold its shape (more or less) when plated. I’ve seen a few recipes for the lactose intolerant – no cheese involved.

          Now, doing it in a wok might be a stretch (although I have done things similar to lasagna in a cast iron skillet). If you have video, you should post it. Might just be the next viral food craze!

          • If you have video, you should post it.

            No, thank you. I do not want to encourage this behavior.

            During the experiment, she asked me for tomato puree. I gave her a jar of Italian tomato puree. I saw the jar in the ‘fridge last night with a teaspoon of the puree missing from the jar. My guess is that she painted the bottom of the wok with the puree to keep the pasta from sticking. It certainly was not evident in the finished product.

        • Oh my! In a different genre, I’d be worried about her not eating her own cooking, but fortunately you’re not in a true crime episode 🙂

          Writing Observer mentions lactose intolerant people not using cheese. I’m LI, too, but I wouldn’t dream of lasagna without cheese — what’s the point? I just take a Lactaid and chow down.

          Thanks for introducing me to the “Worth It” series; I’d never come across it before.

          • Jamie, RE: Worth It YouTube channel introduction
            You’re welcome.

            I do not worry about my wife poisoning me. There are many things I eat that she does not. Fish disgusts her, but she cooks fish and other seafood for me.

            • Off topic, but I have recently discovered Korean cheese corn. I make it often. A true taste treat delight.

              Back on topic: my ‘Zon paperbacks are printed in Delaware.

              • I refuse to eat corn in the kernel. IMO corn is hog fodder until it has been civilized by making meal of it. Then it can take its four proper forms: polenta, chips, cornbread, and — thanks be to God — tortillas.

                IMO Korean corn cheese is a Hawaiian invention. I can tell you from long experience that Koreans know next to nothing about cheese. (I know the one dairy in the country that can make mozzarella worth eating. Korea imports 90% of the cheese sold in the country and 100% of the butter.) Everything Koreans know about dairy they learned from Americans. Ice cream is a treat; yogurt is good for you (but Koreans don’t eat it anyway); and cheese goes on a hamburger. Or a pizza. Well, sometimes on a pizza. Not always. Seriously, you would not believe what Koreans put on pizza: spaghetti (I am not making that up), sweet potatoes, barbecued chicken (sounds like it might be good; it isn’t), and vegetables that have no English names. I have seen a pizza in Korea topped with potato wedges.

                In 9-dimension space, all this ties back to my wife making lasagna in a wok. I know she experiments because she loves me and wants me to be happy with my food. But she never just follows the recipe. No. She puts a Korean twist on everything. And she will not accept that what I want most is tako sashimi to gohan to shiro miso. Because that’s Japanese, and she hates the Japanese. So in place of my most desired dish, I am stuck with “lasagna” without tomato paste, without tomato sauce, without cheese, without bechamel, but with brussel sprouts. Cooked in a wok. But she did sprinkle it with basil. Gotta learn to look for the small wins.

                • Antares, you say that Koreans know nothing about cheese. Are you claiming that Americans do? I’m currently visiting younger son in WV, and our visits to the local shops trying to buy some decent cheese are really not too flattering to the local palate. Clearly there is a lot of knowledge of how to slice, dice and process the stuff but there seemed remarkably little – possibly nothing – available worth actually eating. Maybe anything decent goes to make pizza?

                  Is this a regional thing? Would I do better in NY or San Francisco?

                • Mike Hall, Like all things, some Americans know cheese. Most don’t. Markets live by majority tastes. IME the majority has no taste. Can’t believe it is much different in England.

                  I said “Koreans know next to nothing about cheese” and “[e]verything Koreans know about dairy they learned from Americans.” That infers that Americans know next to nothing about cheese. That’s true for the majority of Americans.

                  Myself, I prefer Havarti. I also like parmigiano reggiano, pecorino romano, asiago, mozzarella, goat-milk feta, jack, extra sharp cheddar, gouda, edam, Butterkäse, cream cheese, and queso fresco. Each has its place.

  7. Freetrade is simply a tool used by capitalists to suppress the working class, and prevent them from getting enough money to support themselves.
    With the death of unionised labour brought on by libertarian thinkers and politicians, The freetrade fanatics took over in the new parts of American society, encouraging Americans to use Japanese made cars rather than the traditional American variety.
    As for China stealing intellectual property, it’s been happening for decades and American business owners know it has, but they don’t care since they get cheap goods made which they can then sell for a tidy profit.

    • That is one interpretation.

      Another is that free trade is where a big economy lets itself be exploited by a smaller one to help it grow so its people become prosperous enough to buy more and more expensive (and profitable) products.

      It worked beautifully with Europe, Japan and the tigers, Israel, Chile. Less so with Mexico and most of Latin America.

      The US economy and the population as a whole benefited immensely to the point that leftists all over the world see it as an american exploitation tool.

      Definitely not with China where most of the profits go to the party, aparatchicks, and worst of all, the military.

      The tariffs are about ten years too late but with the uncrowned emperor overextending the debt-trap belt and road ploy they can still be effective in slowing Imperial China’s military growth so the US can undo a generation of damage to the military and make them rethink their xenophobic expansionism.


      The odds of a Pacific war stand in the mid double digits.
      The tariffs stand a decent chance of slowing it but not as much as if started ten years ago.

      The thing to understand is the trade war isn’t an economic move but a geopolitical delaying tactic so the next war won’t require mini-nukes.

      There’s a reason it has bipartisan support even in these times.

    • Perhaps the best example of free trade is the flow of goods and services between states in the US. I’m not sure how the working class would benefit by curtailing it.

      • States are equally developed whereas countries always aren’t; the US’s biggest partners are Canada–equally developed–and Mexico, which isn’t but has improved a lot thans to free trade.

        States can’t block interstate commerce or penalize out of state companies because of the constitution but they still war over tfade and investment:


        • States are now relatively equally developed, and it demonstrates the operation of comparative advantage. But, those states were not always equally developed. There were vast differences.

          • In general.
            But here are pretty big differences between, say, Mississippi and Washington. Or within two specific countirs/parishes in the same state. Not as big as between developed and undeveloped countries but enough that the political culture matters in things like picking a factory site for cars–Tennessee vs Michigan–or which part of tbe state to site a fulfillment center.

            And the balance changes over time: California is in for a shock in the mid term over big city livability.

            It’s not money.

            • Of course various factors matter in making economic decisions among states. And there are definitely differences among states. That’s a given we can observe. Neither free trade or allowing comparative advantage claims to eliminate that.

              The political factors matter because they affect the costs of doing business in one state vs another. Free trade among states deals with the absence of barriers to movement of goods, services, and people. However, the absence of such barriers tells us nothing about the attractiveness of one location over another for operation.

              What we see internationally is nowhere near what we see between states in terms of trade barriers. Yet people insist on calling managed international trade free trade.

              And those members of the working class someone above mentioned? They are free to move from one state to another to work without getting green cards or work permits from the state. Anyone think eliminating that will lead to a workers’ paradise?

      • And freetrade fanatics would argue that consumers in the US benefit from cheap Chinese goods, and kertaling access to those goods would be harmful in the long run.
        It’s based on the libertarian view where profit is the only goal, and it explains why so many jobs were outsourced to China in the first place, The goal for the CEOs was profit maximisation and the destruction of unions that guaranteed high standard of living for workers.
        And now with automation on the horizon, The chances of finding a job in the next 30 years will be very slim indeed.

        • A free trade fanatic would argue for no barriers to the movement of goods, services, and people between the US and China. There are no free trade fanatics.

          Free trade advocates would argue that barriers to the movement of goods and services should be dropped for all countries. They would then argue that allowing nations to maximize profit would lead to the greatest prosperity for the whole world.

          Comparative advantage is the cornerstone of their ideas, and in theory it is wonderful. If the world existed on a blackboard, all would be great.

          The movement of jobs to China is the result of the continuation of the post-WWII trade policies designed to allow the world to recover from the war. That war ended 75 years ago, yet the trade imbalances intentionally created persist.

          And profit? Of course that’s what drives it all. Profit means the output from an endeavor is valued at more than the input. That’s why people don’t spend their time carrying buckets of sand back and forth between two piles. It’s hard work, but nobody values the output more than the input. No profit.

          Unions come in a variety of types. One type is similar to the Medieval guild and is designed to erect barriers to entry so union members have access to opportunities denied everyone else.

          And those folks who make up everyone else? That’s the working class.

        • Too bad the historical record of tbe past century-plus is that increased automation results in a net *increase* of jobs greater than population growth.

          The new jobs created always exceed the jobs obsoleted.

          Most of the jobs robots destroy are simple, repetitive, and manual.
          Totally unskilled.

          *That* is a problem and it will get worse over the next decade as robots keep expanding their existing presence in agriculture to picking fruits and vegetables.

          There will be plenty of replacement jobs but the replacement jobs are going to be technical, require skill/experience, and more than just a high school diploma/attendance certificate.

          Typically, a two year degree at a community college or tech institute will do. Look around: the shortage of mechanics and technicians in all fields is massive.
          (Tons of resesrch papers out there documenting the issue, which is global: US, Australia, Europe being just some. Most are dense pdfs, but this isn’t:


          There is no surplus of skilled workers but there is a surplus of the unskilled, with more popping up everyday.

          That is the real problem.
          A century ago during the transition from an agrarian to an industrial society spawned the mandatory public school system to enable the trandition. Kids were trained to navigate an industrial society and to fit into assembly lines.

          (Look up the FORD GRADE SCHOOL OF 1916+.)

          Today’s educational system isn’t enabling the new transition to a technological society. If anything it is hindering it by its lack of proper guidance studies. Which is how we already have a massive mismatch between workforce needs and unemployed skills and government at all levels, local to federal is doing zilch. Some companies have resorted to training programs to grow their oen but many find it cheaper to headhunt.

          The workers are there; they are neither stupid, lazy, or unmotivated. But the options to get the proper graining are limited and pricey. And the politicians’ answer, instead of facilitating training, is to bad-mouth technology, promote taxing robots, and give money for free.

          Technology isn’t the problem.
          Workers aren’t the problem.
          It’s the politicians and those who vote for them.

          Neither banning robots nor throwing money will solve this problem because it is structural to the education system.

          • Historically, automation meant that we had to compete with our machines physically but now machines are able to compete with us intellectually, and it won’t be long before they start taking what are known as white-collar jobs, so where are all the workers going to go.
            Also, how are the underskilled going to become skilled which as you said takes two or three years in community college, who is going to pay for it they won’t be able to they won’t have any jobs, perhaps some kind of socialist free college could be arranged but again, where with the money for that come from.
            And finally, Fortune 500 companies are getting smaller and smaller and their profits are increasing and in order to compete, other companies will have to do the same.

            • I’ll worry when machines reproduce.
              Until then they exist solely because we choose to build them to suit our needs. As a result, they are extensions of the will and interest of their builders/owners. They are tools: like hammers, wrenches, chainsaws, or typewriters.

              We most definitely do *not* compete with machines, physically or mentally. We are competing with the humsns who use them.

              Isaac Asimov was fighting that misconception as far back as 1939 and he spent tbe bulk of his life educating the masses: robots are nothing but tools. They can’t do anything a human doesn’t tell it to do.

              Try this:

              Look at the end credits of any computer animated movie or live action blockbuster. How many of those jobs existed 20 years ago? 30 years ago?

              Here’s an (incomplete) sample of just one billion dollar movie: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1477834/fullcredits

              One such movie takes a year or more post-production, costing over a hundred million in non-screen talent, racks up a billion-plus in gross of which at most half goes to the studio to recoup their costs. The rest goes to theater operators and staff, their suppliers and staff, government and staff, etc…

              Or look at web sites: how long has webhosting been a business? How many employees keep them running? How long have tbose jobs existed? They’re not minimum wage exploitative jobs. The average website designer earns $50k a year.

              There are hordes of such jobs created or altered over the last 40 years as a *consequence* of the PC revolution. Robots are doing even more, helping fill in tbe gaps created by an inadequate education system. They are *necessary*.

              The jobs they create and spinoff are all high-skill, high-training jobs. No under-educated fruit pickers qualify. So yes, there are winners and losers. But the winners are exactly the kind of people modern societies need to survive. Need to produce.

              In the nineties alone the US economy grew 40% because of PC automation spreading all over and creating 25 million jobs. Net. That was after accounting for the lost steno pools. There is another such boom already ramping up.

              A bit of research goes a long way in dispelling luddite myths. You just have to let go of fear of automation.

              Humans create automation, humans use automation, humans prosper by it. It’s just another tool.

              Nothing to fear.

            • We have heard the same thing since the beginning of the industrial revolution. But, the idea goes back much further, originating when some unfeeling capitalist replaced a pointed stick with a plow.

              And intellectual competition? Mathematicians barely survived the slide rule, and the advance of computers has reduced thousands of accountants to clicking the KDP upload button.

  8. The last page of a KDP book shows where it was printed.

  9. And Bibles—which perhaps with some irony are said to be printable almost exclusively by Chinese presses—are off the tariff lists.

    Said by whom?

    The last time I saw this, I checked several of the Bibles I own (I have multiple translations). All but one was printed in the US. That one was printed in the Netherlands. Since it’s obvious to me that Bibles can be printed here, I can only assume this is being bandied about to catch the attention of President Trump’s base.

    • They don’t think highly of his base.
      Too many deplorables clinging to their guns and religion so they must be open to any narrative from their betters.

      It might be interesting to see a novel where they get their way.

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