Notes: Minors' Access Bill Killed; Amazon POD Protest
The Colorado state Senate has killed a bill banning the sale to minors of works that might be "harmful" to them because of sexual content, according to the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression.
"Booksellers played a critical role in the defeat of S.B. 125," Chris Finan, president of ABFFE, said in a statement. "While the sponsors tried to paint it as protecting minors from pornography, the booksellers made it clear that the law would affect many books and magazines with serious literary, artistic and political value." At a hearing in February, Matt Miller, general manager of Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, and Lisa Knudsen, executive director of the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association, spoke against the measure.
ABFFE and local booksellers worked with a variety of organizations against the bill.
PMA, The Independent Book Publishers Association, which represents more than 4,000 independent publishers, has joined the protest against Amazon's new policy that POD titles must be printed by Amazon's BookSurge subsidiary to be sold without extra charges on the online retailer.
In a statement, executive director Terry Nathan said: "This policy imposes a significant financial burden on tens of thousands of small and independent publishers who can least afford it. Without the opportunity to benefit from competitive pricing, small publishers risk at best an expensive and needless overhaul of their manufacturing process, and at worst, the loss of their livelihood.
"On behalf of all the small and independent publishers whose businesses are in jeopardy, we urge Amazon to reconsider its position. Over the years, Jeff Bezos and his company have given small and independent publishers a level playing field to compete with the largest of companies. Suddenly, this magnificent playing field has been converted into a 'members only' club, to the detriment of those very publishers who have contributed to Amazon's success. We will continue to monitor developments in the weeks ahead."
Inspired by the realization that she "hadn't patronized a single local, independently owned bookstore" despite owning hundreds of books, Rachael Daigle wrote an article for Boise Weekly detailing her book-buying transgressions, while simultaneously offering an in-depth look at the history and current state of indie bookshops in the Idaho city.
Bruce DeLaney, co-owner of Rediscovered Bookshop, told her that "many of the stores that went out of business across the country had gone most of the way to insolvency themselves, and then the big stores provided that final push." His plan for success includes treating his bookstore as a serious business rather than a retirement hobby. "Everyone here loves books, or they would not work at a bookstore. . . . Boise needs independent bookstores. If just 10 percent of the people who shop at the big stores switch to shopping at independents, it would support two or three more stores our size."
Daigle contends that Rediscovered "may be the closest to filling the big shoes left empty by the Book Shop," owned by legendary Boise bookseller Jean Wilson. "Those who did know Wilson say her death and the closure of the Book Shop left a void in Boise's literary community."
Effective this spring, the following publishers have joined International Publishers Marketing, Dulles, Va.:
- Dicmar Publishing, a boutique press that is just releasing its Prepared Parent's Operational Manuals, a series designed to help parents whose children are going off to college.
- Garnet Publishing, a British press that focuses on the fiction, art and current affairs of the Middle East.
- Strokes International, European creators of DVD-based language courses that is now entering the U.S. market, starting with Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish courses.
- Double Storey, one of the largest publishers in South Africa, which puts out books on wine and food, current events, politics, social interest and natural history.
- 30° South Publishers, a relatively new South African press that has a strong African military history list. The house has recently branched out into travel guides for the area.