BTW News Briefs [10]

Maine and Missouri Enact Affiliate Nexus Laws

As sales tax fairness stalls in the U.S. House of Representatives, some states are taking the issue into their own hands.

Maine and Missouri recently clarified their respective sales tax laws to require remote retailers with a network of online affiliates acting as sales agents in the state to collect and remit sales tax to the state. In both states, the law contains a small-seller exemption that stipulates a remote retailer must be doing $10,000 or more per year in online affiliate sales in the state to have nexus. In May, Minnesota also passed an affiliate nexus law.

Maine, Minnesota, and Missouri join 13 other states that have affiliate nexus laws: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

SIBA Launches Read-Aloud Program Parapalooza

To foster excitement about books and literature, the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance [11] has launched Parapalooza [12], a series of YouTube videos featuring people reading their favorite books out loud.

SIBA Executive Director Wanda Jewell  believes that in the world of technology — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, and YouTube — reading aloud is a natural way to encourage the sharing of favorite books. “It takes the ‘You’ve got to read this!’ feeling to the next level,” said Jewell.

SIBA welcomes anyone to submit short videos — read with enthusiasm, meaning, and feeling — to parapalooza@sibaweb.com [13].

Man Booker Prize Longlist Revealed

The longlist for the 2013 Man Booker Prize [14] has been revealed. Chair of the judges Robert MacFarlane said the novels “range from the traditional to the experimental, from the first century AD to the present day, from 100 pages to 1,000 and from Shanghai to Hendon.” The shortlist will be announced September 10, and the winner October 15.

The titles on the longlist are:

  • Five Star Billionaire, Tash Aw (Fourth Estate)
  • We Need New Names, NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus)
  • The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton (Granta)
  • Harvest, Jim Crace (Picador)
  • The Marrying of Chani Kaufman, Eve Harris (Sandstone Press)
  • The Kills, Richard House (Picador)
  • The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury)
  • Unexploded, Alison MacLeod ( Hamish Hamilton)
  • TransAtlantic, Colum McCann (Bloomsbury)
  • Almost English, Charlotte Mendelson (Mantle)
  • A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)
  • The Spinning Heart, Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland)
  • The Testament of Mary, Colm Tóibín (Viking)

Romance Writers of America Announces RITA, Golden Heart Winners

Romance Writers of America announced the 2013 winners for the RITA® and Golden Heart® awards [15] on July 20. The RITA awards recognize excellence in romance novels and novellas, and the Golden Hearts are awarded to unpublished romance manuscripts. RITA winners include: 

  • Best First Book: The Haunting of Maddy Clare, by Simone St. James (Penguin Group USA, New American Library)
  • Contemporary Single Title Romance: The Way Back Home, by Barbara Freethy (Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books)
  • Historical Romance: A Rogue by Any Other Name, by Sarah MacLean (HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books)

See the rest of the RITA winners as well as the Golden Heart winners here [15].

Student Spending on Textbooks Increases

OnCampus Research has found that college students are spending more on course materials than last year [16], though the number is still down from five years ago. The Student Watch™ survey noted that students spend $662 annually, up from $655 a year ago, and down from $702 five years ago.

Students are now able to rent printed textbooks, which can save a student 45 to 66 percent off the cover price of a new book. College stores are also increasing used textbook stock, which come in at 25 percent cheaper, and digital availability, which is up to 40 percent off the price. Additionally, college faculty and publishers are developing custom-made materials that can include information from a variety of texts, allowing the student to purchase only one book rather than several.

ABFFE Asks for Transparency from Congress

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, along with more than 50 other companies, investors, and organizations, have signed a letter to President Obama and Congressional leaders [17], asking for companies to be given looser restrictions in publicizing how many requests they receive from national security agencies looking for information about users and subscribers of Internet, telephone, and web-based service providers.

The July 18, 2013, letter requested that companies receiving demands for user information be allowed to inform users of these requests, including the people, accounts, and devices the requests are for and which authorities are seeking the information. The letter also asked that the government’s annual transparency report include the total number of requests for specific types of data and the number of individuals affected by each inquiry.

Amazon Loses Battle to Acquire .amazon Internet Suffix

Amazon’s petition for the use of the .amazon Internet suffix [18] was opposed by a group of Latin American countries, which argued that the name was fundamentally linked to the countries occupying the space in the Amazon rainforest and river region (including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay) and that the retailer should not be allowed to use it.

Based on the countries’ opposition, a committee of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recommended that .amazon not be approved for use. ICANN’s board can overrule the committee if it chooses to do so.

The United States government notified ICANN prior to the recommendation that it supported the use of Internet suffixes like .amazon but did not plan to intervene if the suffix was denied use.