All's fair in love and war. Yesterday Barnes & Noble sent a Valentine's Day missive to Amazon.com affiliates, inviting them to shift to B&N.com, which for many years has collected sales tax on all purchases.
"We understand that Amazon.com has threatened to terminate its affiliate program in certain states that may enact e-fairness legislation that requires Amazon to collect sales tax due on purchases by residents in those states," B&N wrote. "Barnes & Noble is disappointed to hear that Amazon would threaten small businesses' livelihood rather than comply with state law."
The company singled out affiliates in the states where Amazon has severed ties with affiliates in an effort to avoid having to collect sales tax, writing, "If Amazon doesn't want you, we do!"
B&N promised to collect and remit all applicable sales tax "so you and our customers don't have to worry about being hassled or prosecuted by state tax auditors."
B&N said it has more than 13,000 affiliates. The Wall Street Journal
noted that Amazon has severed relationships with affiliates in Rhode Island, North Carolina and Hawaii because of those states' efforts to make Amazon collect sales tax.
Sad news from Seattle, Wash.: Fremont Place Books
is closing on Sunday, February 27. Founded 22 years ago, the store has been owned for the last seven years by Henry Burton, who wrote to friends and customers: "Because sales have dropped precipitously and the bookstore's debts have increased dramatically, we have reached the point where the business is no longer sustainable. Whether people are using e-readers, using the library, buying books online, choosing to shop elsewhere, or simply not buying books at all, the basic fact is that we have not been selling enough books to keep the business going."
He also wrote in part, "I am immensely grateful to all of you for your support, encouragement and advice. What I will miss the most is my interactions with all the wonderful people who have come into the store, many of whom I now consider friends. I will miss all of you greatly."
The store is holding a farewell open house on February 27, noon-6 p.m. As Burton wrote, "Please stop by and help us celebrate all that is great about books, bookselling, and being part of a community."
NPR's Science Friday
aired a segment about McNally-Jackson Books' new Espresso Book Machine, "a big fancy book robot," as John Turner, a buyer at the New York City store, put it. See it in action here
Book trailer of the day: Of Indigo and Saffron: New and Selected Poems by Michael McClure (University of California Press), in which a young McClure reads to lions, originally filmed by Richard O. Moore in a series called USA Poetry.
When in doubt, ask the experts. To offer a little Valentine's Day assistance, USA Today asked romance writers to "share their secrets for a more romantic life."
Ann Krentz observed that one of the primary reasons readers enjoy
romance fiction is that men in the books really talk to the women: "They
talk things out rather than hide from the issues. They don't shut down.
They will deal with charged emotional issues as opposed to running out
and playing a game of basketball to work off the energy of an
argument.... In a romance novel, when the heroes and heroines do
quarrel, both sides fight fair. There is no name-calling, no verbal
abuse. No one brings up old history."
Mifflin Harcourt named the guest editors for its 2011 "Best American"
series. Bruce Nichols, senior v-p and publisher of the Trade &
Reference Group, said, "2010 was another great year for the series with The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Comics on the New York Times Best Sellers list; 2011 has come together to be just as exciting." This year's series editors will be:
The Best American Short Stories: Geraldine Brooks
The Best American Essays: Edwidge Danticat
The Best American Comics: Alison Bechdel
The Best American Nonrequired Reading: Dave Eggers, with an introduction by Guillermo del Toro
The Best American Travel Writing: Sloane Crosley
The Best American Science and Nature Writing: Mary Roach
The Best American Sports Writing: Jane Leavy
The Best American Mystery Stories: Harlan Coben
What is Little Red Riding Hood listening to on her iPod? Flavorwire suggested a literary mixtape
for the girl who "would be struggling with her innocence post-wolf
incident, clinging to the youthful, pretty songs she picked flowers to,
while opening her world to new things. Also, we really think she'd be
into mostly female singers, for some reason. Girl power and all that."
"Literature should not disappear up its own asshole, so to speak." The Onion's A.V. Club featured "15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has or Will."
The Washington Independent Review of Books, sponsored by the AIW Freedom to Write Fund, launched yesterday as a website "dedicated to book reviews and writing about the world of books." The president is historian and author David O. Stewart. The Independent says that Washington writers, including Alice McDermott, George Pelecanos, Kitty Kelley, Marie Arana and James Swanson, are supporting the review.
The Independent will have "a Washington, D.C., flavor to it," with a local bestseller list and literary events calendar, for example, but will also review "books spanning many genres, written by a variety of writers, some accomplished and some new on the scene, and published by presses both small and large. As for our reviewers, some of them will be well known and some will not." The Independent will post new editorial material daily.
The Independent cited declining book review coverage in newspapers as one reason for starting the publication and recalled the founding of the New York Review of Books during the 1963 newspaper strike in New York City as an inspiration.
For more information, contact outreach and marketing manager Gene Taft at GeneTaftPR@aol.com, 917-701-4072 or 301-593-0766.
Anne Kubek has joined INscribe Digital, which offers global digital distribution, content conversion and optimization services via ONE Digital. She formerly worked for Borders Group for nearly 20 years, leaving in 2009 as executive v-p of merchandising and marketing. She was also senior v-p of stores, v-p of human resources, v-p of books and regional director.
Erin Kottke has been promoted to publicity director at Graywolf Press. She joined Graywolf in 2005 as marketing assistant and was later promoted to marketing and publicity manager. Besides publicity, she is responsible for Graywolf's social media efforts and bookseller outreach initiatives.
Consortium Book Sales & Distribution has added the following publishers:
1001 Inventions, Manchester, England, was created by the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilization to promote the scientific and cultural achievements of Muslim civilization. The 1001 Inventions exhibition, which tours the U.S. for the next three years, has a tie-in book called 1001 Inventions. The book is available from Consortium March 1.
Behler Publications, Lake Forest, Calif., specializes in titles that deal with how people are influenced and changed by their experiences and how they deal with those repercussions. Behler's lead fall title is Throwaway Players: Concussion Crisis From PeeWee Football to the NFL by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers president Gay Culverhouse. Another key title, Off the Street by Christopher Baughman, explores prostitution and offers parents guidance on how to protect their daughters from sex predators. Titles are available now.
GLAS New Russian Writing, Moscow, Russia, specializes in contemporary Russian literature in English translation. Since 1991, GLAS has been discovering new writers, such as Victor Pelevin and Lyudmila Ulitskaya, and rediscovering underappreciated works by past masters such as the early writings of Mikhail Bulgakov. Forthcoming titles are Michele Birdy's The Russian Word's Worth and Squaring the Circle, an anthology featuring the work of young Russian authors--winners of the Debut Prize. GLAS New Russian Writing titles will be available March 1.
Nortia Press, in Orange County, publishes high-quality, affordable literature, with an emphasis on current events, foreign affairs, business and historical fiction. Lead titles include The Myth of Western Civilization by Touraj Daryaee and Morning Calm, a semi-autobiographical first novel written by Jason Morwick, a West Point graduate who served in South Korea. Nortia Press titles are available now.