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Houseand Senate Work on Compromise Sales Tax Fairness Legislation            

Sponsors of the House and Senate sales tax fairness bills are working together on a compromise bill that could be introduced if the opportunity arises before Congress adjourns at the end of the year, according to the National Journal.

Rep. Steve Womack, co-sponsor of the Marketplace Equity Act, legislation that would give states the right to require remote online retailers to collect and remit sales tax, told the Journal that he is working with the sponsors of the similar Senate legislation. (Learn more about the federal bills and sales tax fairness.) The Senate version, the Marketplace Fairness Act, provides similar authorization to states as does the House bill, but it also sanctions the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement and has a small business exemption of $500,000 while the House bill has a small business exemption of $1 million.

 Womack said the bills’ authors want to have legislation that is “ready to go” if the opportunity presents itself before year’s end.

NRF Will Go to Court to Block Swipe Fee Lawsuit Settlement

The National Retail Federation plans to go to court to block the proposed $7.25 billion settlement of a federal antitrust lawsuit over skyrocketing Visa and MasterCard credit card swipe fees that cost consumers hundreds of dollars a year, according to a press release.

NRF is concerned by a number of provisions of the proposed settlement. It noted that “nothing is done to block future increases in swipe fees” or to “reform the anti-competitive, cartel-like system by which Visa and MasterCard each set fee schedules.” The retail association said it is “particularly concerned” by a provision that bars all merchants, including those that do not yet exist, from ever again suing Visa and MasterCard over swipe fees.

“We represent the nation’s retailers and that means not just today’s retailers but tomorrow’s as well…. We can’t stand by and allow their rights to be stripped away before they’ve even had a chance to start their businesses” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.

MIBA Names Interim President

The Midwest Independent Booksellers Association has appointed Chris Livingston, owner of The Book Shelf in Winona, Minnesota, to serve as its interim president. Livingston replaces Lanora Haradon, who stepped down when she announced the closing of Next Chapter Bookshop in Mequon, Wisconsin, on September 11, 2012.

Livingston will serve as interim president through the Heartland Fall Forum, the combined trade show of MIBA and the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, scheduled for Minneapolis from October 3 - 5.  After the show, the MIBA Board will review its options and make a permanent appointment.

Kobo Inks Deal With U.K. Booksellers Association

On September 18, just weeks after the American Booksellers Association/ Kobo partnership was announced, Kobo announced a partnership with the Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland to offer its 3,000 member stores, including 1,000 indie booksellers, the ability to sell Kobo eBooks and eReaders.

As with the ABA/Kobo partnership, BA booksellers will be able to offer customers a complete eReading experience, including eReaders, a full line of accessories, and eBooks from Kobo’s eBook catalog of more than three million eBooks. 

Kobo already had a deal to sell its eBooks through WH Smith and other retailers, including Staples, in the U.K.

Hachette to Host Reading Group Day in NYC

On Saturday, September 29, Hachette Book Group is hosting a Reading Group Day at the New York Public Library in Manhattan. Reading group members in the Tri-State area are invited to come meet authors and take home a gift bag of new books. There will also be door prizes, free books, and refreshments.

 Participating authors include Stacy Schiff, Jami Attenberg, Ayad Akhtar, Charlotte Rogan, Larissa Ione, Jill Shalvis, Jodi Kantor, Margaret Roach, Cornelia Read, Megan Abbott, and Candace Bushnell.

Stores can direct customers to sign up through Books & Greetings at (201) 784-2665.

Entertainment Moguls to Enter World of Book Publishing

Brightline, a new publishing venture that brings together Scott Rudin, the film and theater producer; Barry Diller, the chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp; and Frances Coady, a longtime publishing executive, is entering the world of book publishing, according to a report in the New York Times. The new company will begin by publishing e-books but eventually will publish print books in  partnership with Atavist, a Brooklyn-based publisher of electronic books and articles.

Plans call for Brightline and Atavist to remain separate, but for books to be published under the Atavist name. No authors have yet been signed by Brightline; however, the Times noted that “Brightline will pay big advances to compete for big-name authors, but many questions remain, including how the new company will share revenue with its authors and how it will get printed books into stores.”

Business Book of the Year Award Finalists Announced

Last Friday, the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs announced the shortlist for the eighth annual Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, which recognizes book providing compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues. The winner will be announced at a gala event in New York on November 1, 2012.

The finalists, chosen from books published for the first time in the English language, or in English translation, between November 16, 2011 and November 15, 2012 are:

  • Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty, by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson (Crown Business/Profile Books)
  • The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk-taking, Gut Feelings, and the Biology of Boom and Bust, by John Coates (Penguin Press/Fourth Estate)
  • Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power, by Steve Coll (Penguin Press/Allen Lane)
  • Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster/Little, Brown)
  • What Money Cant Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, by Michael J. Sandel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Allen Lane)
  • Volcker: The Triumph of Persistence, by William L. Silber (Bloomsbury Press)