The state of North Carolina, which obtained some information about residents' purchases from Amazon.com for purposes of sales tax collection and sought more detailed information, has lost its case--at least in present form.
A federal district court judge in Washington State ruled that North Carolina's current request "runs afoul of the First Amendment," as quoted by CNET News
. She added that North Carolina has "no legitimate need" for details about the literary, music and film habits of Amazon customers in the state. "In spite of this, [North Carolina] refuses to give up the detailed information about Amazon's customers' purchases, while at the same time requesting the identities of the customers and, arguably, detailed records of their purchases, including the expressive content."
CNET News said that Amazon "provided the state tax collectors with anonymized information about which items were shipped to which ZIP codes. But North Carolina threatened to sue if the retailer did not agree to divulge the names and addresses linked to each order--in other words, by providing personally identifiable information that could be used to collect additional use taxes that might be owed by state residents."
The judge did allow North Carolina the possibility of filing a more limited request for information from Amazon if the state destroys the information it already has.
The American Civil Liberties Union had intervened in the lawsuit wanting Amazon to be prohibited from "disclosing customer purchases without a subpoena, which the court did not grant."
Headline of the day: "Amazon Touts Kindle Sales Numbers Without Sharing Kindle Sales Numbers," noted TechCrunch
in reporting that Amazon said "sales of the new generation Kindle
devices have already surpassed total Kindle device sales from the
holiday season of last year."
e-book wars may have a holiday spirit all their own this year. With
Amazon and B&N making e-reader news this week, Borders announced its
own deals on several e-readers, beginning yesterday and running through
Customers ordering in advance the Velocity Micro Cruz
Tablet at $299.99 receive a $25 Borders gift card; the Velocity Micro
Cruz Reader with wi-fi is on sale for $169.99, $30 off the list price;
and the Kobo eReader ($129.99) is selling for $99.99 this week. In
addition, Borders is offering the Aluratek Libre for $99.99 through
Other e-promotions from Borders include five free
e-books of the company's choosing with the advance order of a Kobo Wireless
eReader; a free cover with built-in light with the purchase of the 2010
models of the Sony Touch and Sony Pocket; and a 20% discount on all
"It's a competitive market, and Borders doesn't nearly have the share that Amazon does," TechCrunch
observed. "Price cuts can be a sales driver during the holiday time,
and these sort of deals are necessary to compete with the big guys."
Gilbert Pili, who founded Cornerstone Books, Salem, Mass., five years ago and put the store up for sale last month (Shelf Awareness, September 15, 2010) in part because he has a full-time job elsewhere, has decided to close the store, according to the Salem News.
Pili was unavailable for comment, but the paper spoke with several authors, including Brunonia Barry, who launched The Lace Reader at Cornerstone, and Katherine Howe, who did a book signing for The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane there, both of whom lamented the closing of Cornerstone.
ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper spotted Jonathan Franzen leaving the executive mansion yesterday. Tapper reported on his blog: "Asked how his meeting with the president went, the celebrated author of Freedom said 'delightful.' "
During his vacation this past summer on Martha's Vineyard, President Obama famously received an ARC of Freedom at Bunch of Grapes bookstore.
Last Saturday, Carol Besse, co-owner of Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, Ky., gave a This I Believe essay on the Bob Edwards Radio Show on the subject "We Need a Revolution."
What to protest against? She replied: "The list is practically endless--the destruction of our environment, the takeover of our government by special interests, the meltdown of our economy, the growing inequity in our society--everywhere that entrenched corporate and political interests have a choke-hold on our culture. Insurance companies tell us we can't have national healthcare; oil and auto industries tell us we can't have fuel-efficient, clean cars; politicians tell us we can't have a government uncorrupted by money. But we must have these things."
Read the transcript here.
Poets & Writers magazine has a q&a with Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson, New York City. One of her more amusing answers was to a statement that McNally Jackson is a neighborhood bookstore.
"Well, and more than that. I mean, a place that is actually comfortable--there are chairs, it's very spacious. That might not seem like an important thing, but in New York it's a big deal. We had the radical idea of giving people chairs. [Laughter.] The chains took out all their chairs because people were falling asleep in them, and literally dying in them. So we wanted to have a place, you know, where you could sit and relax and look at books. It was almost like taking the bookselling strategy that everyone else around the country had already figured out and bringing it to New York."
The Algonquin Talks blog has a great q&a with Amy Salit, producer at Fresh Air for "25 long, grueling years." She talks about many things, including several legendary BEA parties--two of which we attended, too--and the disastrous interview with Gene Simmons. One of our favorite answers:
"I'm going to reveal a big secret that probably shouldn't go beyond this blog--Maureen Corrigan is actually a computer-generated voice driven by a book reviewing algorithm. They're still tweaking the program, but I think it's pretty good."
WMUR's New Hampshire Chronicle profiled RiverRun Books, Portsmouth, N.H., interviewing owner Tom Holbrook. Among some of the things highlighted: the "fresh hot books" table (instead of "new books"), the 20/20 table featuring 20 titles chosen by RiverRun booksellers that are discounted 20% for a month; and "second run books," the used book section.
Book trailer of the day: A Writer's Book of Days by Judy Reeves (New World Library), which asks, "On any given day, a writer may write the best she's ever written. Is today your day?"
Next Wednesday, November 3, at 8 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m.
Pacific, Terry Whalin is hosting a 70-minute webcast featuring Perfect
Bound Marketing founders Ted Rogers and Vickie Mullins who will discuss special
market book sales. Interested listeners may ask questions and register at
; each participant will receive a free report, 26 Secrets
& Steps for Book-selling Success
. The event will be available later via
Rogers signed his first special market sales campaign
contract in 1993 and with a single sale sold more than 100,000 copies of his
book. Mullins is the author of the I Want You to Know Me series.
In a Boston Globe interview, Lawrence Ferlinghetti reminisced about Jack Powers--the founder of Stone Soup who died October 14--calling him "a great yea-sayer" for poetry. The Globe
noted that Stone Soup "was a lot of things, chief among them a series
of poetry readings that Jack Powers launched on May Day in 1971. It also
was a bookstore, a publisher, and a place for poets to read silently or
aloud--'a secular chapel,' "
"I met Jack when he still had
Stone Soup bookstore," Ferlinghetti said. "It was on the back side of
Beacon Hill, a small bookstore. City Lights
was a small bookstore in those days, we were a one-room bookstore for
many years, so naturally I gravitated toward a place like that and I met
a lot of Jack's friends and hung out with a lot of them.... I had a lot
of great times with him. Jack was a great yea-sayer. He was a great
friend and promoter of poets, and he was very proud of having kept his
Stone Soup poetry readings series going."
The inimitable Strand Book Store.
"I went to New York last week for a work event. Totally fun but the
'work' part definitely limited my shopping time," wrote Adryanna in Chicago Now's Fashion Statement
blog. "In fact, I only managed to visit two stores: Strand Bookstore,
which in no way could be duplicated outside of its downtown Manhattan
location, and the second, Uniqlo, a store that should open a location in
Chicago ASAP, in my sartorial opinion!"
Obituary note: Eva Ibbotson, the "much-loved author of Which Witch? and The Secret of Platform 13," died last week, the Guardian reported. She was 85.
The Vowel Effect. Entertainment Weekly's Shelf Life
blog deconstructed Twitter book reviews by Tyra Banks, noting that the
model-turned-talk show host "just mentioned that she finished Catching Fire,
the second book in Suzanne Collins' trilogy. How good did she think it
was? 'Soooooo good!!!' That is especially impressive, since six o's and
three exclamation points is the highest possible score in Tyra's rating
system. (By comparison, she thought Twilight was 'Soooo good!!' and she broke with critical consensus by only giving the new Franzen a tepid 'Soo good!')"
In honor of this week's release of Life by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, the Wrap featured Rock Books 101, noting: "When it comes to rock memoirs not all are created equal... but when they're good, and really bad, they can be great."
not sure whether this technically qualifies as library news, but
Australian librarian Graham Barker has been recognized by the Guinness Book of Records for his collection of "belly button fluff," which he has been "harvesting" every day for 26 years, the Daily Mail reported.