Book Stores

The Jig Is Up for Amazon; New York Court Dismisses Challenge of State's Internet Sales Tax Provision

In a significant victory for New York's independent retailers, a New York State judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Amazon.com that challenged the state's Internet Sales Tax provision. The provision, which went into law on June 1, 2008, requires online retailers with certain selling activities in the state, such as Amazon.com, to collect and remit sales tax on sales made in New York State. A similar lawsuit by Overstock was also dismissed, according to Reuters.

In dismissing Amazon's challenge, Judge Eileen Bransten wrote: "The neutral statute simply obligates out-of-state sellers to shoulder their fair share of the tax-collection burden when using New Yorkers to earn profit from other New Yorkers," as reported by CNN Money. Bransten also noted that Amazon.com had failed to state a claim and that "there is no basis upon which Amazon can prevail," according to CNN Money.

Eighty-five Year Old Stacey's Bookstore to Close

What will San Francisco be like when all the little indie bookstores are closed? I shudder to think.

First Cody's closed last year, and now Stacey's. For some reason, people always react with shock when they realize one of their favorite local places is closing. From the SF Gate article: "As word trickled out Tuesday evening, customers said they were stunned by the news. "I'm devastated," said Melissa Davis, 37, who had picked up Spanish and Italian language CDs and an Italian grammar book and has shopped at the store regularly for eight years."

More bad news for other independents from The Denver Post, reporting on layoffs at Denver's beloved Tattered Cover Bookstore.

It's time to put 2+2 together; if you bypass the independent bookstores for Amazon and the big box stores, they will certainly all be be forced to close. Buy locally, and when possible, buy books for your local library at your local bookshop. Keep San Francisco, and your town 'weird'.

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Book burning on Feb. 10th 2009 due to CPSIA

I have not been able to verify the information in this blog post but this information is moving around via email to librarians so I thought I would pass it on. Without specific cites to the law I would be very wary to take at face value some of the points made.

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The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA H.R. 4040) has a good goal: protect kids from dangerous imports tainted with lead. Bravo! Unfortunately it goes about doing so in such a way that it’ll drive up costs across the board, drive many manufacturers and retailers out of business, and not really make kids any safer.

So what does CPSIA do? It mandates lead testing for ALL items intended for children under 13 or PERCEIVED as being for those under age 13. So items commonly regarded as “kids stuff” even if it is intended for adults, such as many comics, collectible books, high end popups, etc, still falls under the statute even though they’re aimed at adult collectors.

Full blog post here.

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Two cent item gets FREE Super Saver Shipping

Blog entry about a 2 cent book that qualifies for FREE Super Saver Shipping. Can be used to raise a $24.99 DVD or book to $25 to qualify for free shipping.

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How About a Daily Dose (of New Books)?

Via promotional emails from Powells.com (at least they haven't gone under yet)...

How The Dose Works--Seven days a week, the Daily Dose brings a reader's review to your Inbox — along with a chance to win free books!

Each day shortly after midnight we post the day's featured item on our web site and in our email to Daily Dose subscribers. The reader whose comments we use has until day's end (11:59 p.m. Pacific Time) to visit our special contest page and claim the prize. Each day we add $20 credit to the available total — until someone wins free books. Then the next day it all starts again.

To enter, write a short review of any item on Powells.com that you think we should tell Daily Dose subscribers about.

Click here to read the complete and official Daily Dose contest rules.

Bargain Hunting for Books, and Feeling Sheepish About It

Article in the New York Times:

Book publishers and booksellers are full of foreboding — even more than usual for an industry that’s been anticipating its demise since the advent of television. The holiday season that just ended is likely to have been one of the worst in decades. Publishers have been cutting back and laying off. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced that it wouldn’t be acquiring any new manuscripts, a move akin to a butcher shop proclaiming it had stopped ordering fresh meat.

Bookstores, both new and secondhand, are faltering as well. Olsson’s, the leading independent chain in Washington, went bankrupt and shut down in September. Robin’s, which says it is the oldest bookstore in Philadelphia, will close next month. The once-mighty Borders chain is on the rocks. Powell’s, the huge store in Portland, Ore., said sales were so weak it was encouraging its staff to take unpaid sabbaticals.

Full article here.

Book Advice: 25 Cents

The first Saturday in December, University Book Store in Seattle, WA opened its first "Holiday Advice Booth," the brainchild of Stesha Brandon, the store's events manager. Modeled after Lucy's psychiatrist booth in "Peanuts," book advice was offered for 25 cents, with the money raised going to the store's Scholarship Endowment Fund, which helps financial-aid students purchase course materials and textbooks.

It was staffed in one-hour shifts from 10 to 6; advisors included Brad Craft, the store's used-books buyer, Nancy Pearl, the World's Librarian, two sales reps--Dan Christaens from Norton and David Glenn from Random House--and me (author of this article, Marilyn Dahl). Stesha was our runner (and supplier of homemade baked goods). We had a blast.

Sounds like a lot of fun; read the entire article at Shelf-Awareness.

Maybe library friends shops could do something similar? Of course, there's only one Nancy Pearl, but those friends have done a lot of reading over the years...

Penn Libraries Receive Gotham Book Mart Collection

Penn Libraries Receive Gotham Book Mart Collection: When the Gotham Book Mart closed its doors last year, the disposition of its precious contents was in question. But thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Gotham Book Mart Collection has a new home at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. A landmark cultural institution in New York City, the Gotham Book Mart was the epitome of all that is engaging and inspiring about an independent bookstore. It was an oasis where poets, writers, and lovers of literature could gather for readings, discuss and discover authors and their works, and while away hours poring over the store's eclectic and often unique inventory.

Indie Booksellers Migrate To Drupal to Increase Internet Sales

The American Booksellers Association is encouraging its membership to increase sales by going live on a new Drupal platform (à la LISNews).

The three stores with live beta-test Drupal sites are Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, California; Literary Bookpost in Salisbury, North Carolina; and RiverRead Books in Binghamton, New York.

A demo store is set up at Cascade o' Books--"not a real bookstore"--where "booksellers can see how easy it is to change the color scheme and layout by choosing a theme using the drop down menu on the homepage," said Ricky Leung, director of ABA's E-Commerce Solution. Anyone can test out themes and the shopping cart.

Bookstore Stimulus Package; a government bailout isn’t in the cards.

Here’s a letter that Roy Blount Jr., a wonderful author (all football fans should read his Steelers classic About Three Bricks Shy …) and president of the Authors Guild, recently sent to Guild members:

I’ve been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren’t known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don’t lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn’t in the cards.

We don’t want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let’s mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that’s just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; more from the NYTimes.

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