Amazon.com and California legislative leaders have reached a deal under which Amazon will give up its referendum fight against the state's law requiring it to collect sales tax in exchange for a moratorium in collecting sales tax until next September, the Los Angeles Times reported last night. Governor Jerry Brown has not said whether he would support this deal.
Under the terms of the deal, it will be superseded by any legislation on Internet sales tax collection Congress passes--an effort Amazon says it supports but that is unlikely to be settled any time soon on the federal level.
The newspaper quoted Assemblyman Charles Calderon (D.-Whittier), who credited Senate Minority Leader Bob Dutton (R.-Rancho Cucamonga) for "starting the talks that led to the deal."
On Tuesday, the effort by the California legislature to pass an "urgency" bill that would negate Amazon's referendum fell five votes short of the required two-thirds in the California Senate. Also this week Governor Brown indicated that he did not support Amazon's earlier offer of opening two warehouses in California with 7,000 jobs in exchange for a three-year moratorium on collecting taxes.
Amazon has spent more than $5 million on its referendum campaign.
Spanish newspapers El Pais and El Mundo reported that Amazon will launch Amazon.es September 15, selling "physical goods--books, music, DVDs and electronics--at launch, but will expand its digital offerings by the end of the year. Amazon has been buying electronic rights from Spanish publishers like Roca Editorial, Random House Mondadori, Santillana and Asteroid Books," paidContent.org wrote. According to El Mundo, Amazon has not confirmed the launch, though Greg Greeley, the company's v-p of European Retail, "is reportedly holding a press conference in Madrid on September 14, with Amazon.es to launch the next day."
Arizona State University's Cronkite News spoke with Gayle Shanks, owner of Changing Hands Bookstore, and Bob Oldfather, CEO of Bookmans, about the ways in which their independent businesses are adapting to the demise of Borders and changes in the book industry.
"Is the bookstore experience worth bookstore prices?" asked C-Ville.com in its exploration of the lively independent bookselling scene in the Charlottesville, Va., area, where the survival of indies "depends largely on whether people are willing to spend money on the bookstore experience--of sniffing through the stacks, of talking to their colorful owners, of being willing to settle for something that's maybe not the book that they want, but one equally good."
C-Ville.com described Daedalus Bookshop as "the domain of a person who loves books so much that he can scarcely say no to taking them into his shop to sell them." Owner Sandy McAdams called the bookselling life both "crazy" and "spiritual," and compared working in the used book industry with "making order out of chaos."
Laura DeVault, co-owner with her sister Anne of Over the Moon Bookstore in Crozet, said that when they were opening early in 2010, some people said, "Are you crazy? That's Southern, for 'you're nuts.' " The DeVaults "joke that their work at the bookstore is more or less on a volunteer basis. But they say that they have developed a good group of loyal customers who shop there not only because it's a great little bookshop, but also on principle--and these patient souls are willing to wait for special orders," C-Ville.com wrote.
On the blog for the Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colo., floor manager Scott Foley has a post this week called "Where All My Boys At?," in which he ponders why so few booksellers are men. "When I come across a fellow male bookseller at conventions or gatherings, I feel like we belong to a secret club, exchanging a covert nod of the head," he writes.
Among other parts of the post that we especially liked: "I recently began half-jokingly telling friends of a plan to assemble an all-male reading group. We would call ourselves The Li-Bros ... It's not that we would read only male authors, not an Iron John thing, but we could discuss whether female writers could get us guys in all our complexity."
He ends, "I extend a hearty invitation to my fellow fellows in the greater Boulder area. Follow your wife or a female friend into Boulder Book Store and help realign the literary universe. No need to launch a takeover, just celebrate the manly art of reading."
The post is nicely accompanied by a photo of "the boys at BB," who Foley describes as "not an especially gruff bunch [but] I feel we represent the male species well enough.
Publishing Perspectives is adding a newsletter that will focus on "the growing world of children's publishing" and is aimed at children's publishers and service providers around the world. The newsletter will appear every two weeks.
Editor-in-chief Edward Nawotka said, "Worldwide, publishers of children's and young adult books are among the most innovative and visionary in the book business. They are harnessing the power of digital media to create new forms of storytelling and finding ever more sophisticated ways of entertaining and interacting with kids and teens."
One of the main stories for the first issue of the new newsletter is by Andrew Wilkins, owner of Wilkins Farago, the children's publisher in Australia, about selling rights at the Frankfurt Book Fair next month.
Book trailer of the day: Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (Back Bay Books), the Pulitzer Prize winner that's now out in paperback. The clip features intrepid videographer Amanda Tobier, marketing manager at Little, Brown, asking people in Rockefeller Center what they think of Cleopatra. One of many gems: a tourist who called Cleopatra the first woman in history to get a "rhinoplastique."
Are the Hemingways really "America's First Literary Family"? Vol. 1 Brooklyn reported that Town & Country magazine makes this claim on the cover of its latest issue, which touts a feature on Hemingway's granddaughter Mariel, "as well as her own daughter, the 21-year-old Langley. I couldn’t find the issue online, but Mariel Hemingway has it on her site. The issue is also worth taking a look at for its other Hemingway story, an excerpt from Paul Hendrickson's forthcoming book, Hemingway's Boat (Knopf)."
Letters of Note showcased a love note written by Samuel Clemens to his wife, Olivia, in 1888: "Livy Darling, I am grateful--gratefuler than ever before--that you were born, & that your love is mine & our two lives woven & welded together!"
In other Mark Twain news, Mental Floss reported that during the summer of 1883, while he was writing Huckleberry Finn, the author found time to create a board game to help his daughters remember English monarchs and when they ruled: "He measured out 817 feet--each foot represented a year--and then put stakes in the ground where Kings and Queens started their reigns.... it ended up looking a lot like a life-sized version of Candy Land."
His daughters learned the monarchs in two days and, after "a couple of years of tinkering, he patented Memory-Builder: A Game for Acquiring and Retaining All Sorts of Facts and Dates," Mental Floss wrote.