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An AP Reporter is saying An appellate court ruling against Borders Group Inc. sets a precedent that could enable California to force some major Internet retailers to start paying state sales tax for books, music and other goods sold online to state residents.
Whether California tax collectors use the precedent to go after not only Borders but Barnes & Noble Inc., Amazon.com and other online retailers remains to be seen. But independent booksellers and other "bricks-and-mortar" retailers have been cheering, saying the ruling should remove their Internet competition's unfair advantage.
Follow-up to an earlier story found here .
In out-of-state commerce, on-line retailers do not ordinarily collect sales tax, which is part of the reason prices can be set so low.
In a ruling by the California District Court of Appeals, it was determined that Borders Online LLC had nexus in California and owed back use tax because Borders Books & Music, Inc., accepted returns of Borders Online purchases. Borders Online will most likely appeal to California's Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Bookselling This Week (in which this article is included) has learned that the staff of the California BOE (Board of Equalization) has completed an audit and delivered the opinion to its Board that Barnesandnoble.com has nexus in the state and that the chain retailer owes approximately $20 million in back taxes, according to sources close to BOE. These sources report that Barnesandnoble.com is seeking a settlement with BOE, which to date has not responded.
Of course, this is in just one state--California. Could it be that the bubble is about to burst for Borders and Barnes and Noble...
An AP Piece reports says Most American consumers don't realize Internet merchants and even traditional retailers sometimes charge different prices to different customers for the same products, according to a new survey.Amazon.com outraged some customers in September 2000 after one buyer deleted the electronic tags on his computer that identified him as a regular customer and noticed the price of a DVD changed from $26.24 to $22.74. The company said it was the result of a random price test and offered to refund buyers who paid the higher prices.
This study examined he quality of data provided by ChoicePoint and Acxiom, two of the largest consumer data brokers in the United States, as well as their responsiveness to consumer requests â€“ and found significant areas of concern in both areas.
100% of the reports given out by ChoicePoint had at least one error in them. Error rates for basic biographical data (including information people had to submit in order to receive their reports) fared almost as badly: Acxiom had an error rate of 67% and ChoicePoint had an error rate of 73%. In other words, the majority of participants had at least one such significant error in their reported biographical data from each data broker.
Robin Rose Yuran writes
Bookseller From Hell
By BarbBarb Yuran
â€œIf itâ€™s Jim Schvantz (not real name), Iâ€™m booked to die.â€? The phone is ringing at the circ desk with a distinctive Schvantzy-sounding ring and I am making this dramatic slicing motion across my throat. Bookseller from Hell has been hounding me for weeks now and I have been avoiding him like head lice. Heâ€™s smarmy, heâ€™s whiny, heâ€™s guilt-trippy and heâ€™s attached himself to me like a barnacle. Itâ€™s like he thinks Iâ€™ve been in pursuit of some obscure set of books- I donâ€™t know, maybe Dust Bunnies Abroad: Country by Country- and only he has it. He makes me want to drink gin at 9:00 in the morning. He lies like the mother of all rugs. He is a rug. -- Read More
Amazon.com, Ebooks and "Chump Change" is one from Kuro5hin By rjnagle:"
What is Amazon up to these days? Are they the friend or foe of the independent writer?
Amazon's recent purchase of two companies (Booksurge and Mobipocket) hints at a future business strategy geared not only to the long tail concept but also self-publishing in general."
Update: 06/06 08:18 EST by R:Link fixed.
AP Says n its Web site, Amazon.com Inc. is asking publishers for audiobooks for a new download store it says it plans to open. But the Internet retailer is being coy about such key details as a launch date.
The Seattle-based company declined to say Friday when any such sales would start or how it would affect its partnership with Audible Inc., the industry-leader in sales of audio versions of books and other publications.
"We never say if or when we're going to be launching a store until we launch it," Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith said.
There's a great independent bookstore in Menlo Park (CA), Kepler's, now celebrating its fiftieth anniversary.
By the way, Kepler's like most indies, will sell any book via the internet (you don't have to live in Menlo Park), so Amazon is NOT your only alternative.
Counterpoint: Chain Bookstores - Work Magazine Issue #1 (Work magazine is a quarterly analysis of the U.S.A.'s work culture and its influence over the world.)"Chain Bookstores", by Paula Katz, looks at her job as a lowly retail clerk at a local, independent bookstore. She says a "corporate" atmosphere can be created anywhere; it's not just about the size of the store or the profit margins.Because money has become the only thing the store worries about, the employees are left feeling unappreciated. The smart ones leave, and the ones who stay, lose interest in making the store a better place.
"Eventually this bookstore will fail. But what is most frustrating is witnessing myopic business practices that should be reserved for huge corporations being put into practice in what should be a haven for customers and employees alike."
Anonymous Patron writes "From Mid-Day Mumbai - Bombay,India The 45-odd booksellers lining the artery from Churchgate to Flora Fountain were evicted by the BMC on May 6.
The BMC swooped down on the booksellers and carted off nearly a lakh books saying they were acting on court orders and that the pavement was a no-hawking zone.
Angry over the treatment, the evicted booksellers say they want the government to designate a book zone in the city, dedicated to booksellers."