Notes: 'E-fairness' in N.Y. State; Comedy Fundraiser in Conn.
In the wake of passage last week in New York State of a final budget that includes a provision requiring Internet retailers to collect sales tax on sales made to New York residents, Bookselling This Week addressed "some of the questions that independent booksellers in other states might have regarding how the provision will, or won't, affect their business activities in New York."
ABA COO Oren Teicher commented, "Since 1999, the very start of our nationwide fight for e-fairness, this campaign has been about leveling the playing field for Main Street bookstores, who have had to contend with out-of-state online retailers that have skirted sales tax laws by offering consumers tax-free shopping. The Internet Sales Tax provision ensures that government is not favoring one retailer over another and that New York-based independent booksellers are enjoying a level playing field."
Finalists for the 2008 SIBA Book Award can be seen at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance website. Beginning this year, the awards ceremony will be held as part of the Decatur Book Festival on Labor Day Weekend in Decatur, Ga. The festival attracts some 60,000 attendees.
Greenwich Time reported that when Greenwich, Conn., resident Jane Condon, "of Last Comic Standing fame, heard that Arcadia Coffee Co. and Just Books Too were in danger of being sold, she decided to take action. She contacted owner Jenny Lawton to see if she could put together a benefit to raise money to keep the stores open."
Said Condon: "We just want to try to save it, maybe we fail, but at least we can try." The Comedy Show fundraiser next Wednesday will feature Condon and New York comedians Brad Zimmerman and Richie Byrne.
"The community support has been fantastic," said Lawton.
Bookselling This Week profiled Idlewild Books, which officially opens on Sunday but has had one major event already (Shelf Awareness, April 2, 2008). The 1,000-sq.-ft. store stocks some 6,000 titles, specializing in travel and international literature, and is located just off lower Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Owner David Del Vecchio, who worked at the U.N. and has traveled and lived around the world, told BTW that the idea of arranging titles by country "always appealed to me." The store "seemed like the best way to bring together all the things I care about--literature, travel, humanitarian issues, and so on--and to create a space where other people who care about these things can meet."
Some 40% of books will be travel guides, with the rest literature and nonfiction, including books about politics, culture and history, as well as graphic novels. "The idea is that a novel or a book about a country's history, for example, can be at least as valuable to understanding that place as any guide book," Del Vecchio said. "And, of course, it's not just a store for travelers. The last three novels I read were set in places I've never been."
Idlewild Books is located at 12 W. 19th St., New York, N.Y. 10011; 212-414-8888; idlewildbooks.com.
Ron Chamblin, owner of Chamblin BookMine, Jacksonville, Fla., has announced the "soft opening" of a second store in the city, Chamblin Uptown, according to Florida Times-Union, which also offered a video tour of the new location.
"It looks to me like there's so much competition out there and so many opportunities to buy books, so really, the advantage we have is we have so much square footage," said Chamblin, who owns the buildings where his stores are located. "If you have the square footage, that allows you to have the variety. That's where the draw is."
While all the attention was on Manhattan and J.K. Rowling's days in court, a BBC book about Doctor Who's foes, the Daleks, "has been cleared of infringing copyright in London," according to, well, the BBC, which reported that the case "was brought by publishers JHP, who printed four books with stories by Dalek creator Terry Nation in the 60s. Managing director Paul Fishman said the BBC's Dalek Survival Guide, published in 2002, used material from those books and violated JHP's copyright. At the High Court, Mr Justice Norris said JHP held a licence to publish the original books, but not the copyright."
Ready for the Eat, Pray, Love tour? The Toronto Star explored Bali in search of characters Elizabeth Gilbert encountered on the road to writing her bestseller: "Although bookshops here sell her book, no one seems to know where to find its characters. . . . The tourist bureau sends us to the bookshop, but the bookseller has no idea who is actually profiled in the book."
The write stuff. If Barack Obama's success as a presidential candidate mirrors his success as an author, then his future is bright. The New York Times reported that, based upon 2007 tax returns, the Obama family had "a household income of $4.2 million due to a sharp increase in the sales of his books [Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope] during the first year of his presidential campaign."
"Books here are almost as ubiquitous as tulips," wrote the Guardian's Sarah Ream in her tribute to Amsterdam, "literature's capital city."
Borders Group is landing at Kennedy Airport in September, when it opens a 1,734-sq.-ft. store in the JetBlue Airways Terminal 5. The store will stock some 8,000 book titles, including audiobooks, a Paperchase gift and stationery shop and DVD and CD titles.
In the New York metropolitan area, Borders has a store at LaGuardia Airport and three at Newark Liberty Airport. Borders also operates stores in airports in Detroit, Baltimore, Phoenix, Orlando, Seattle, Boston, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.
Anne Zafian has been appointed v-p, deputy publisher, of the trade imprints at Simon & Schuster's children's division, a job created in February when the children's book area reorganized (Shelf Awareness, February 20, 2008).
Zafian will oversee S&S Books for Young Readers, Paula Wiseman Books, Atheneum, McElderry Books and the company's still to-be-named West Coast imprint. She joined S&S in 2004 as director of distributor sales and retail marketing and was promoted to v-p in 2006.
Paula Wiseman has been promoted to v-p, publisher, of Paula Wiseman Books.
Martinique poet and politician Aimé Césaire died Thursday at 94. According to the Associated Press (via the New York Times), Césaire was "an anticolonialist poet and politician who was honored throughout the French-speaking world and who was an early proponent of black pride" and "one of the Caribbean’s most celebrated cultural figures."