I sell physical review books for a certification in my professional field that are starting to pick up on Amazon, about $2000 per month. I am paying a publishing company to print my books and then I ship the books over to the Amazon warehouse to be a "fulfilled by Amazon" item.

My question is: From what I've been able to read online (although the nuances seem confusing), you cannot deduct the cost of the actual book publishing as a self-employed person. Is this correct? Can I deduct the shipping costs from the publisher if not the books themselves?

I guess I think it interesting that the IRS would say that you cannot deduct the costs of the books themselves since they are literally the product and not charge you taxes based on the profit of the books. I read a reference on a site that this is considered a "reproduction and distribution expense" but can't figure out if this means anything useful as far as a tax deduction.

Can anyone clarify?

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    im 90% sure this is on topic for writing SE, but legal SE will be able to help if you do not get a clear answer from here for any reason. Mar 24 at 18:12
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    I'm not a CPA, and this is a bad time of year to get an actual CPA to be on any sites. I'd ask my wife (who is a CPA) but she'd rip out my lungs for asking a tax question. I think they should be as a sole proprietorship, but I'd ask a CPA. Here's a site that discusses it though taxesforwriters.com/are-self-publishing-expenses-tax-deductible/….
    – DWKraus
    Mar 25 at 1:13
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    Unfortunately we don't have "Tax SE" or "Accounting SE" here. "Legal SE" is only somewhat relevant. Generally, when doing a business in US (even as self-employed), all business-related expenses are tax deductible. HOW to deduct them correctly is a good question which a tax-specializing CPA should be able to answer.
    – Alexander
    Mar 25 at 19:12
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    Yes, you need to consult an accountant. My understanding, possibly incorrect and outdated, is that with physical inventory, you don't deduct the cost until you actually sell it. So if you spend, say, $10,000 to print 5000 books, but only sell 1000 of them while the rest are in the Amazon warehouse, you can only deduct $2000 of the printing cost. It is possible, even likely that you can have taxable income when you don't have any profit (this is why you see books getting remaindered—it's a way to get the inventory off the books, so to speak). Mar 26 at 4:31
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    I’m voting to close this question because it is not specifically about writing.
    – Chenmunka
    May 21 at 17:07

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