BTW News Briefs

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Senators Call for a Hearing on the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Project

In a letter dated March 21, Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY) and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) called on the Senate Committee on Finance to hold a hearing on S. 2152 and S. 2153, their respective streamlined sales and use tax legislation, that was referred to the committee for review. The letter was sent to Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-IA), the Senate Committee on Finance chairman, and Max Baucus (D-MT), the committee's ranking minority member.

In the letter, Enzi and Dorgan noted, "[B]illions of dollars in needed sales tax revenues go uncollected year after year in many jurisdictions due to a ruling (Quill vs. North Dakota) by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1992 that said current state and local sales tax systems impose an undue burden on sellers without a physical presence in each state."

They noted that the two bills, which are the same except for their definitions of which small businesses would be exempt from having to participate in SSUTA, strike a "reasonable balance between the interests of consumers, local retailers, remote sellers, and the states." Enzi and Dorgan stressed to the committee that their legislation "deserves the immediate attention of Congress.... Failure to act will ... add to the growing competitive pressures faced by Main Street retailers from remote sellers that do not collect sales tax rightfully owed by their customers."

Residents Protest Incoming B&N

On Saturday, March 25, the Citizens for Local Control in Corte Madera, California, held a rally in front of the Corte Madera Town Center to protest the impending move of the 10-year-old Greenbrae Barnes & Noble to the mall, which is a block away from the independent Book Passage. Lisa Wilhelm, co-founder of CLC, told BTW that about 125 residents braved the rain to join the rally. "We did have a very good showing," she said.

CLC is looking to put pressure on the Florida State Board of Retirement, which owns the mall, and Morgan Stanley, which is the Board of Retirement's asset manager, over leasing the space to Barnes & Noble. Wilhelm noted that the Town Center did not need a bookstore. "Other retailers would have served the needs better." She said that, ultimately, CLC wants to initiate some kind of countywide ordinance requiring public review and approval processes for big box and national chains.

Finalists Announced for Audiobook of the Year

On March 28, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) announced the finalists for the Audiobook of the Year. APA will recognize one title as the Audiobook of the Year at "The Audies" awards ceremony on May 19, at National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Finalists in the 28 traditional categories considered each year are chosen based on content, production quality, packaging, and narration. The three titles that were selected as finalists are: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Listening Library); The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Tertiary Phase (BBC Audiobooks America); and The Truth (With Jokes) (Brilliance Audio).

Hans Christian Andersen Award Winners Announced

On March 27, the Hans Christian Andersen Jury of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) announced that Margaret Mahy (New Zealand) was the winner of the 2006 Hans Christian Andersen Author Award and Wolf Erlbruch (Germany) was the winner of the 2006 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration. The Awards will be presented to the winners at the opening ceremony of IBBY's Congress in Beijing, China, on September 20.