Only a week after it became publicly known that
Barnes&Noble.com had begun collecting sales tax on transactions in
38 states (it had previously done so only in two), an Amazon.com
executive testified before the House of Representatives' Small Business
Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform and Oversight that sales tax
collection is feasible, Bookselling This Week
"We concluded almost six years ago . . . that it certainly would be
reasonable for policymakers to decide that the tax should be collected
by sellers," v-p for global public policy Paul Misener said. "We also
concluded that Amazon would not be hurt by a sales tax collection
requirement, so long as the administrative burdens of collection were
eliminated and that our online competitors also would be required to
Independent booksellers have argued that online sellers that don't
sales tax have an unfair competitive advantage. The Northern California
Independent Booksellers Association has campaigned for six years with
the state's Board of Equalization--the tax agency--to require online
book retailers to collect sales tax, particularly B&N.com and Borders,
which, of course, have long had stores in the state. (The case for
Amazon having nexus in California has been less straightforward but one that NCIBA and others believe can be made.)
Several years ago, the state legislature passed a bill on the issue
that NCIBA supported but it was vetoed by former Governor Gray Davis.
NCIBA executive director Hut Landon praised the B&N.com move and the
Amazon statement, saying that in the case of B&N.com, "Our
booksellers can now compete on an equal footing."
Linda Bryant, co-owner and co-founder of Charis Books & More, the
Atlanta, Ga., feminist bookstore that has been having financial
difficulties (Shelf Awareness
, December 22), is selling her 50% interest in the store, according to the Southern Voice
"Although I'll always be connected to Charis, and intend to continue
working part-time for Charis Circle, I believe it is time for me to
step aside to make room for a new infusion of cash, energy, ideas and
vision," she told the paper.
Since announcing its difficulties, the store has created a "Cuddle Up
with Charis" Internet and print advertising campaign, working with
Nghosi Productions. According to the Southern Voice
, each month
a new model-spokesperson will appear in the ads. Among them: Donna
Narducci, executive director of Atlanta Pride; Audra Woodard, Internet
TV host of Her Side
; Maria Rivers, publisher of Labrys Magazine
; and Lisa R. Campbell and Mary Anne Adams, owners of Urban Tea Party in Atlanta.
Doris Kearns Goodwin has won the Lincoln Prize for Team of Rivals
her bestselling title about Abraham Lincoln and the political rivals
who became members of his cabinet. The $50,000 prize is awarded by
Gettysburg College's Lincoln and Soldiers Institute to "the finest
scholarly work in English on Abraham Lincoln, or the American Civil War
soldier, or a subject relating to their era."
For more on the sad story of the death of Alan J. Shalleck, see the Palm Beach Post
which reports that two men have confessed to murdering the former
Curious George collaborator. The pair, who said they met Shalleck
through a dating network, stole jewelry and his bank card after killing
In an eerie coincidence, the feature film Curious George
nationwide today. Directed by Matthew O'Callaghan and featuring the
voices of Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore, Dick Van Dyke and others, the
movie received a rousing review in today's New York Times.
paper lauded the "top-drawer voice talent," the original songs and
"old-fashioned two-dimensional animation that echoes the simple colors
and shapes of the books. Curious George
is an unexpected delight."
For a long list of Houghton Mifflin tie-ins, see our Monday, February 6, issue.
The Southern California Booksellers Association's third "I Feel the Need to Read" bookstore tour
takes place on Saturday, February 25, and features a schedule like the
last one, held in November: two buses will visit seven bookstores in Los Angeles and
Pasadena; one will head east and the other west, and the two groups
will convene for lunch at a restaurant near Book Soup, where they will
meet a special guest. The tour begins with
appearances by Greg Hurwitz, author of Troubleshooter
, and Liza Palmer, author of Conversations with a Fat Girl
Besides Book Soup, the tour will stop at Bodhi Tree, Cook's Library,
Dutton's Brentwood, Eso Won, Traveler's Bookcase and Vroman's. The charge is $50 per person.
SCBA continues to drive bookstore tourism
, the concept created by Larry Portzline, down new roads. The
association is planning a July bookstore tour that will be geared to
parent and child or grandparent and child combinations; it will include
a visit to a children's museum. The association's August tour will
focus on stores in beach towns in Los Angeles County.
A longtime drag on the turn rate but what a nice ending.
On January 28, someone spent $100,000 at the Strand Bookstore in New York City to buy the William Shakespeare Second Folio
, published in 1632, and kept in the store's rare book safe for more than 25 years.
Co-owner Nancy Bass told the Villager
"It's hard to let go of a book that was part of our store for such a
very long time and something that is truly a rarity created by a
literary master. At the same time I'm comforted that in an age of
technology, celebrity and instant gratification . . . something so
important is still appreciated, is still considered desirable."
Deutsche Securities has initiated coverage of both Barnes & Noble
and Borders. B&N rated a "hold" while Borders got a "buy."
The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (formerly SEBA) will
stage educational programming at the Spring Book Show, the bargain book
fair that will be held in Atlanta, Ga., March 17-19. The SIBA seminars
and discussions will take place in the mornings of March 17 and 18
before the show opens. Among topics: "creating killer events" and Web
site marketing. There will also be an ABA Forum and Christian Bargain
Book Forum. Presenters include SIBA board members and several ABA staff
The show is expected to draw more than 100 dealers, who will offer more
than 50,000 titles. For more information, go to the show's Web site
The sideline is now the main event at Holy Grounds, the Christian
bookstore and coffee shop in the Marshall Town Center mall in
Marshalltown, Iowa. Owner Shannon Mitchell began the coffeehouse to complement the bookstore, but the
coffeehouse has kept her in business so she is shutting down the bookstore, according to the Marshalltown Times-Republican
. "I'm just being financially
responsible," she told the paper. "God calls us to be good stewards."
She is negotiating with mall owners for a new location and said she
wants to "keep the music, keep the Bible studies and groups."
Baker & Taylor has hired two new inside sales reps.
Nancy Dalton, most recently manager of Cornerstone Books in Denver, has
become the inside sales rep for independent booksellers on the West
Coast. She will be based in B&T's Aurora, Colo., office and work
with bookstores in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada,
Oregon and Washington. She had worked for 12 years at the Tattered
Cover, part of the time as head of the ordering department. She may be
reached at Nancy.Dalton@btol.com
or 800-775-3300, ext. 110.
Dianne Chrismer has also joined B&T as an inside sales rep, working
with David Quinn to serve booksellers in the Mountains and Plains
territory, including Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico,
North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. She was
most recently national sales director for Fulcrum Publishing and
earlier was sales director for Westcliffe Publishers. She is also a
former board member of the Publishers Association of the West.
Chrismer will work in B&T's Aurora office and may be reached at Dianne.Chrismer@btol.com
or 800-775-3300, ext. 125.