Aaron Rackley, founder of the British independent comics retail e-commerce platform Buy Small Press, is seeking a small amount of financial support, just £3000, from the comics community – so the service can prepare for VAT changes that come into effect at the beginning of July in the UK.
Previously the publisher of children’s all ages comics under Fair Spark Books Ltd., Aaron developed Buy Small Press as a new alternative to sites such as Etsy, aimed at the small press community and aimed at reducing the costs of setting up and running an online store.
Since its inception, the site now has over 80 stores set up by comic creators to sell their independent comics and in some cases, artwork. Over 300 independent titles are currently for sale via the service, sold by their creators, including recently-added publications such as BARKING, by Lucy Sullivan, Perrywinkle Comic – Comics Fighting Cancer, Rhian’s Steps by Steve Appleton, The77 #5, the Clockwork Watch Omnibus #1 , SKAL by Jennie Gyllblad, and PUNO Altiplano Vol.2 by Gustaffo Vargas.
Buy Small Press also offers a monthly “comic box” service, teaming up with creators from the small press world to bring five comics to your door.
If you are in the e-commerce business, you’ll know that from the 1st July 2021, all businesses selling to the European Union now have to obtain VAT on sales where necessary, and pay them to the correct governing country. Buy Small Press comes under a Online Marketplace, and as such has to by law, do this on behalf of our store owners.
“This now being a legal requirement, we as a marketplace have to get this in place, or we can get shut down at any time,” Aaron explains on a GoFundMe page.
“This is amazing news for store owners as it’s one less thing they have to worry about,” he emphasises, “and keeps them being able to ship to the EU and a growing user base for their products.”
However, to getting this set up on the site is going to cost some development time and integration into a third party, who can help Buy Small Press with the VAT collection and paying.
“When I started up Buy Small Press the aim of the site was always to make an affordable environment for creators to get instantly setup online for free, with no recurring fees,” says Aaron.
“Our site currently only takes five per cent commission from each sale to cover the costs of running the site (hosting images, ebooks, pdfs etc).”
This leaves the team with only three options – and why they have begun their small fundraiser.
The first option available – to start charging store owners using Buy Small Press as a trading platform a per sale fee of between £1 – £3 – is, Aaron feels, a complete non starter, far too much to add on to the price of the average price of a £3 comic.
The second option is to agree a yearly upfront with a third party service and start charging store owners a monthly fee, “which would go against what we are trying to achieve here at Buy Small Press,” feels Aaron.
So the option left is to reach out to the comics community, in the hope that there are enough like minds out there who also believe in what Buy Small Press are trying to do – and help them pay for the fees so they don’t have to pass it onto the small creators, where the difference of just £1 can result in a loss on their work.
“So if you believe in what we are trying to do over at Buy Small Press,” asks Aaron, “and want to support us being able to continue this journey and keep the site up by setting up this, please donate what you can to the cause.”