Amazon has threatened to close its Irving, Tex., distribution facility on April 12 "and cancel plans to hire as many as 1,000 additional workers because of its dispute with Texas over sales tax owed," the Dallas Morning News reported. Last fall, the state assessed Amazon $269 million in uncollected sales tax, interest and penalties for the four years running from December 2005 to December 2009, which Amazon has contested (Shelf Awareness, January 21, 2011).
"We regret losing any business in the state of Texas," said Alan Spelce, spokesman for the state comptroller's office. "But our position hasn't changed; if you have a physical business presence in the state of Texas, you owe sales tax."
In a letter to employees announcing the impending closure, Dave Clark, v-p, North American operations, said, "Despite much hard work and the support of other Texas officials, we've been unable to come to a resolution with the Texas Comptroller's office. Closing this fulfillment center is clearly not our preferred outcome. We were previously planning to build additional facilities and expand in Texas, bringing more than 1,000 new jobs and tens of millions of investment dollars to the state, and we regret the need to reverse course."
A copy of Clark's letter was posted online by NBC-DFW.
Diamond Comic Distributors is teaming up with iVerse Media, creator
of the ComicsPLUS reader, to allow some 2,700 bricks-and-mortar comic
shops to sell digital editions of comics. Under the program, which makes
its debut in July, day-and-date digital editions to sell for 30 days
for about $1.99, with "digital plus" editions, in effect a bundling
offer--digital copies available with the purchase of a printed copy--for
Retailers need only an Internet connection and printer
to participate. They will retain "a significant portion" of each sale,
with billing on their regular Diamond Comic Distributors invoices.
Retailers with websites will also be able to sell a range of digital
back issue comics and graphic novels.
include Ape Entertainment, Archie Comics, Aspen Comics, Bluewater
Productions, Broadsword Comics, Hermes Press, IDW Publishing, Moonstone
Comics, NBM Publishing, Papercutz, Red 5 Comics, Studio Foglio, Titan
Books, Tokyopop, Top Cow Productions and Top Shelf Productions. Others
are in the process of joining.
Dave Bowen, director of DCD's new
Diamond digital division, said: "We invite all publishers to join our
effort, whether with all of their books or a portion of their line. All
we ask is that they give comic shops a 30-day head-start on selling
whatever digital content they chose to make available through the
Diamond executive v-p and COO Chuck Parker commented:
"Digital comics are creating opportunities for publishers to grow the
comic market. Our task, as we see it, has been to structure a program
that empowers comic retailers to play a role in this growth and, at the
same time, make money selling digital content."
In other Diamond news, Ardden Entertainment graphic novel titles and
products will be distributed to independent bookstores, mass-market
merchandisers, comic shops, bookstores, libraries and other outlets
worldwide by Diamond Book Distributors.
Founded in 2007 by
Brendan Deneen and Richard Emms, Ardden Entertainment has published such
series as Flash Gordon and Casper and the Spectrals. Its first Atlas
Comics titles, starting with Phoenix, Grim Ghost and Wulf, appear in
The Wall Street Journal
surveys the varieties of an increasingly popular kind of bundling: two
e-books, sometimes at a discount, sometimes at full price. "All genres
are represented, from CIA thrillers and non-fiction to blood-sucking
vampires and end-of-this world experiences," the paper wrote.
One example: RosettaBooks is offering William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and Berlin Diary
at a 50% discount. "By bundling titles at a discount we're raising
their visibility and making them more price-attractive," RosettaBooks
CEO Arthur Klebanoff told the Journal.
director of Sony's e-bookstore, said that bundles of titles in series
are most popular. Of the store's 25 bestselling bundles, 19 are based on
Hachette is bundling new and old books by different
authors in the same genres--symmetrical examples include a bundle
consisting of a new title by Brad Meltzer and an older title by Douglas
Preston and Lincoln Child and a bundle that has a new title by Douglas
Preston and Lincoln Child and an older title by Brad Meltzer.
publishers, like Penguin, are creating e-bundles but not discounting.
"In general we see this as a convenience proposition for fans," Tim
McCall, v-p of online sales/marketing at Penguin Group, said. "Our first
experience was with the Sookie Stackhouse books, and people didn't balk
at the price. They wanted to read the author they wanted to read. For
us, it's about preserving the value of the book."
Jacket Copy's bookstore of the week is Small World Books, Venice, Calif. Owner Mary Goodfader "moved her bookstore to the Venice Boardwalk in 1976 after seven years in Marina del Rey. When she and her husband Robert found the space that now holds Small World Books and the Sidewalk Cafe, the building was empty, she says, covered with graffiti like 'stop bombing in Cambodia.' They bought the building and divided responsibilities: She ran the bookstore and Robert ran the cafe along the boardwalk, which faces the sea. The restaurant is 'pretty much the reason the bookstore can exist,' Goodfader says. 'As long as people want to buy hamburgers, I'll keep it going.' "
Marsha Kaplan, Barbara Klausmeyer and Lindsay McGuire, co-owners of Left Bank Books, Searsport, Maine, have "created a local haven for the exchange of ideas," the Bangor Daily News observed in its profile of this "cozy but exuberant" bookshop that opened in 2004.
"You connect with people so fast and deeply... It is so satisfying," they said. "You never know who’s going to walk through the door."
In response to this week's announcement that the National Book Festival
is expanding to two days this year (Shelf Awareness, February 9, 2011),
Washington City Paper suggested five ways the NBF "should earn its second day":
Give poetry its own stage back.
Cultivate some off-site events.
Be more D.C.
Just give Neil Gaiman his own stage.
Headline of the day: The Channel Register's article about Amazon's purchase of a 240,000 square foot warehouse in Ireland featured the headline, "Amazon buys bloody big shed for Dublin data centre."
It may not seem like the most romantic approach to Valentine's Day, but Amazon has named the most romantic cities in the U.S. after compiling sales data since New Year's Day for romance novels and relationship books, romantic comedy movies, Barry White recordings and sexual wellness products on a per capita basis in cities with over 100,000 residents. Amazon's Top 20 most romantic cities in the U.S. are:
- Alexandria, Va.
- Knoxville, Tenn.
- Orlando, Fla.
- Miami, Fla.
- Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Columbia, S.C.
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Murfreesboro, Tenn.
- Gainesville, Fla.
- Tallahassee, Fla.
- Vancouver, Wash.
- Round Rock, Tex.
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Arlington, Va.
- Las Vegas, Nev.
- Clarksville, Tenn.
- St. Louis, Mo.
- Dayton, Ohio
- Frisco, Tex.
More Valentine's Day news: John Stammers chose his top 10 love poems for the Guardian, noting: "If ever two were made for each other surely it is love and poetry: the infinite variety of love meeting the boundless capacity of poetry to embrace it."
And what would Valentine's Day be without a little sex?
Yesterday, Salon's Good Sex Awards (its answer to the U.K.'s annual Bad Sex Awards) launched with the unveiling of the eighth-best sex scene of the year, "a steamy encounter between a painter and his personal assistant" in Jim Carroll's The Petting Zoo. And at number seven, a scene from Maggie Pouncey's Perfect Reader in which "a woman has an intimate encounter in her late father's home."
And Flavorwire showcased the best literary sex scenes not penned by a great male novelist, observing that "writing about sex in literature is a difficult task; there are so many ways authors can go wrong."
UrbanDaddy recommended the soon-to-open Tres Gatos, Boston, Mass., with a tempting literary lure: "It happens every time. You're reading a new essay by Christopher Hitchens extolling the genius of Flannery O'Connor and Lady Gaga (as it relates to geopolitical stabilization), and you suddenly start to think: 'This would be great with tapas. And music.' Well, we’re happy to report: you aren't the only one.... Picture Barnes & Noble. Now picture it as one store. Subtract the evil corporate empire aspect. Add a bar, a funky 40-seat dining space for Grilled Vermont Quail and tapas. Presto. You've got Tres Gatos."
There's no such thing as owning too many books when you live in the Shelf-Pod, a private residence in Moriguchi City, Japan, designed to be "not only for living, but would have the maximum capacity for its storage and exhibition.," Dezeen magazine reported.
Jewcy.com featured its choices for the "50 most essential works of Jewish fiction of the last 100 years," noting that "Jewish writers from all over the globe have contributed fiction in a number of different languages, influencing the form in ways immeasurable, in turn helping to document the Jewish experience better than most history books."
Another possible solution for the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn editing controversy: Boing Boing reported that Gabriel Diani and Etta Devine have suggested replacing the "n-word" with "robot."
"Statistically, people prefer robots to the word 'n-word,' " they contend. "The word 'n-word' is ugly and pejorative. Robots are fun and cool... even when they're trying to take over our world!"