AWP Bookfair Not Open to the Public for "Seattle Tax Reasons"


Apparently, David Fenza never read the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Someone get that man a library card!
Admissions tax due on even free attendees ? Maybe they applied but didn't get an exemption for those late attendees (although... City of Literature!).…
Attendees pay the tax. But it is the organizer's responsibility to charge and collect the tax. Then, the organizer must pay the collected amount when taxes are filed. The organization is liable for the tax whether or not it is collected.

The admission tax is often overlooked, which could result in significant penalties

You are required to pay the tax for everyone attending the event, even if some customers received their tickets free or at a reduced price. Asking customers for a voluntary contribution in lieu of an admission charge does not exempt you from paying the tax.

Of the revenue generated by the admission tax, 75% goes to the Seattle Arts Account. The Arts Account supports programs that keep artists living and working in Seattle. The fund also creates art opportunities for Seattle youth.
So there's no law that actually forbids a public bookfair? I guess the view from Fenza's ivory tower doesn't allow him to see how much the small journals and presses are depending on his honesty regarding this issue. Just another of many reasons to #BoycottAWP:
Did he actually say, "you can’t believe everything you read on social media"? What a condescending ass.
Wait -- if @2 is correct you have to pay a tax on attendees even if there's no charge to get in? That's insane. But wait: it's 0.5%. 0.5% of nothing is nothing.

The solution would seem to be to charge a different rate for exhibitors and attendees, and make the attendee rate really small -- like $5. I think even AWP can afford 2.5 cents a person. A million other folks do this. Maybe AWP doesn't understand how running a book fair is done.

I would suggest supporting independent publishers by going to an independent bookstore -- totally free to get in! No tax! No questions asked! -- and buying a book there. Problem solved.
Fnarf, 5% admissions tax in Seattle and the conference isn't cheap. A 1 day pass is sold for $120 so it'd be $6 for you to just wander in.…
Hrm, they have some info about business licenses... maybe the issue really was about intent to sell to paying attendees vs the exhibits being treated as a general bookstore when the general public gets in.…
"...AWP registration is still open, if Seattleites would like to register for the conference and visit the book fair legitimately." Non-student, non-senior, non-member registration even on the final day is $285 (not clear if non-members are eligible for a one-day pass at $120). Yeah, that'll happen.

Some scientific meetings in the past were partially open to the public (high-profile lectures, poster sessions, etc.), though I can't be arsed right now to find a current example. It'd be interesting to know whether the tax policy has been differentially enforced in the past. Who might know—maybe a special-events person at UW?
I think the AAAS had public sessions when it was in town. The difference might be that AWP is basically opening it's book dealer's room.
There are tons of "offsite" AWP-related events that do not require registration, a partial list is here:… thank you, Stranger, for listing many of them as well.)

As a small press which was expecting to meet Seattle's readers on Saturday, we have committed to bringing our books with us to our two public events, which are free and open to the public, scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights. Surely other presses will also be able to do this, to reach at least some of the folks who will now be turned away. It's not ideal, but it's doable. Details are here:…

These offsite readings are a vital part of the conference, and a chance to see dozens of authors read and perform.

Hope to see you there.
@10: Thanks for stopping by! And thanks for making a great point. We will have all the off-site AWP events in our readings calendar by the end of this week. It's taken us a while to assemble everything. And hopefully, those publishers will be following your lead and selling books at the events, so the public can get to them.
I think anyone who wants to attend can get a $120 one-day pass. It's a shame there isn't a bookfair only pass for a bit less.
Reap what you've sown, hipster statists, reap what you've sown . . .
I've been to a bunch of conferences (science ones, mind you) and the exhibition hall is always the most closely guarded. It would be really strange if it was open to the public.
Perhaps the so-called lack of participation in the Free Public Book Fair day in Boston had less to do with Boston's interest in books (it is a VERY literary city), and more to do with the massive snow storm. I think most of the events on that Saturday suffered from low attendance. That said, the book fair being open to the public IS a tradition and vendors and writers count on this.
@14 "...the exhibition hall is always the most closely guarded."

That's where all the schwag is :)
So, the exhibitors who want to sell books to conference attendees still have to register for a WA DOR temporary license, but not the city of seattle.... but won't they still need to pay state sales tax ?…
someone please give Fenza a pair of scissors and set him free in a hallway. Run baby run.
As a publisher who has had a table at every AWP for the past 4 years and who relies heavily on the Saturday public day for not only sales but so that our less-monied authors can do book signings, this was the last straw. Many of us are already disgusted by the AWP gatekeepers who select presenters from a small cadre of big publishers. If you check the last few years, they've even repeated presenters — this, while there are thousands of prominent, [more] interesting, and groundbreaking authors and presses. Panels traditionally have shut out more innovative topics, although there have been more in the last 2 years because every one I've been on has been SRO and perhaps the Board has figured out that the audience wants something relevant and up-to-the-minute. Jaded Ibis will NOT be attending another AWP after this year. It usually costs us $3000 to attend (this year, of course, is cheaper), and we, like most others, don't sell more than a few hundred $ worth of books. I will miss my comrades, however, all those intrepid small presses who have something to say and say it so damned beautifully.
There was a snowstorm in Boston on the day of the conference last year. AWPs stand on this is very puzzling.
Also, last year's AWP in Boston occurred during the middle of a freaking blizzard. The reason "only a few hundred" members of the public showed up was because they probably didn't want to drive or walk through sleet and ice and death.
Exactly! I was registered/paid and was supposed to be on a panel, but just couldn't get there because of the blizzard. Last year's attendance stat is meaningless.