Notes: New York State Sales Tax Online; New Stores
Approved yesterday by the legislature, New York State's budget includes a provision that requires out-of-state online retailers to collect and remit sales tax on purchases by state residents, Bookselling This Week reported. Governor David Paterson has said he will sign the budget.
Last fall former Governor Eliot Spitzer had pushed for a measure to require online companies like Amazon to collect sales tax, but the measure was sidetracked temporarily by one of the ex-governor's pre-Kristen political problems. Nonetheless, the legislature included the measure, which was promoted strenuously by the American Booksellers Association, the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association, the Retail Council of New York State and others. The measure should add about $50 million to the state's coffers, according to today's New York Times.
"Independent booksellers--indeed all independent retailers--in New York are elated to hear that the new budget makes clear that equity and fairness are the guiding principles for the state," Oren Teicher, ABA COO, told BTW. "From the beginning, all we have asked for is an even playing field so that all retailers get the same treatment from New York. This has never been a case of enacting a new tax; rather, we have simply called for the equitable enforcement of existing tax law.
"New York booksellers should be immensely proud of what they have helped accomplish. . . . We helped change the context of the debate and convince both the Governor and the Assembly to support our position. Further, we know that other states have been watching the debate in New York. The victory here will bolster the fight for e-fairness elsewhere, as we continue to work with booksellers and allies in other states."
The Dallas Morning News profiles Legacy Books, a three-level, 24,000-sq.-ft. store that will open in late summer in the Shops at Legacy center in Plano, Tex.
Legacy will stock some 100,000 titles and will have a coffee bar, an area for cooking demonstrations and a wi-fi bar. The architect described the design as "an inviting interior space that happens to be a bookstore."
"This is a great niche location in Plano," managing partner Teri Tanner told the paper. "The demographics are great, and this is a place where people like to hang out."
Tanner said she has patterned the store on
independent bookstores, including Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle,
Wash., Tattered Cover, Denver, Colo., and BookPeople, Austin, Tex. Ironically the store's roots go back to when Tanner worked with Borders, which considered opening a store in the same shopping area. The Morning News wrote, "Borders ultimately decided not to do the deal, but Ms. Tanner couldn't get the site out of her mind."
Capital--or no capital--idea.
Jennifer and Kevin Coffee have opened Oasis Books, a used bookstore, inside Cannon Mine Coffee in Lafayette, Colo., and are accepting book donations and offering trade credit--an approach that requires little initial investment.
The appropriately named Coffees wrote, "We have stocked a room in the most popular local coffee shop with books, and have solicited donations or trades in order to build the seed stock--with excellent response. It's the cooperative relationship with the coffee shop that has made this possible, and it looks like it will be a win/win situation for everyone. We are proud to bring books to a community that has been without a bookstore for nearly two decades. Our town, although well-read, has been a literary desert: thus the name Oasis."
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-665-9090.
AbeBooks.com, the online bookselling marketplace, has bought Chrislands, which was founded in 2001 by Lance Christen and Jaymes Sorbel and hosts more than 1,000 online bookstores. Most of the stores are used booksellers in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia. Chrislands charges a setup fee of $199 and a monthly fee starting at $19.99.
Chrislands will continue to operate as an independent business but will connect in various ways with AbeBooks and its other subsidiaries. For example, AbeBooks said, stores hosted by Chrislands will soon be able to include their inventory in BookFinder.com search results.
Besides BookFinder.com, the book price comparison search engine, in recent years AbeBooks has also bought IberLibro.com, a Spanish online marketplace for used and rare books, and FillZ, the online book inventory and order management service.
Jhumpa Lahiri's new story collection, Unaccustomed Earth, entered USA Today's bestseller at number 10, "her highest debut and the highest ranking for any of her books." Karen Corvello, book buyer for R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn., told USA Today that "her sales have been growing slowly but steadily, the way sales often grow for an author who you can expect to be around for a long time."
"Is this the world's finest bookshop?" asked the Guardian's
Jonathan Glancey, referring to a 13th-century Dutch architectural
masterpiece in Maastricht that now houses Selexyz Dominicanen, "a store
created from a merger between the town's Bergman's bookshop, the
Academische Boekhandel, and the Dutch Selexyz bookshop chain."
Calling it a "bookshop installation," Glancey's description should make bibliophiles want to jump on the next plane to the Netherlands: "The dominant new element in the church is the high-rise bookshelf structure stretching up to the stone vaults. Popular books are kept on lower shelves, while academic, esoteric and theological works are kept closer to heaven. These are reached by stairs within the sleek, well-made bookstack, although there is also a lift.
"Views from the top shelf along the nave of the church are nothing short of uplifting, while just above your head are the faded remains of ceiling paintings from around 1337; in a very different style, there are others by the artist Jan Vessens, depicting saints and sinners and episodes from the Bible, dating from 1619. It is rare to get so close to such paintings anywhere, let alone in a bookshop."