Book Fairs, Amazon Collects Sales Tax, eBook Facts

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After reading and writing about the popularity of the Jaipur Literary Festival in India last February I’ve become increasingly aware of hugely successful Book and Literary Festivals in locations that I may not have considered conducive to such celebrations. I’ve traveled to the Chicago Printer’s Row Book Fair/Lit Fest a number of times and found an energy level that confirmed the Windy City’s reputation as a hub for book authorship, publishing and printing much like London’s Grub Street in the 16th century.

But a few Sundays ago the local paper covered a wildly successful Brooklyn Book Festival which began its annual gala in 2006 after the Manhattan “New York is Book Country” Festival was discontinued. I suspect more than a little hyperbole when Brooklyn is said to be experiencing “a golden age of a literary community, comparable to postwar Greenwich Village or Paris in the 1920s,” but the point is taken.

Another article on that page was about the upcoming Texas Book Festival in Austin from October 27 – 28 which is expecting to draw 40,000 visitors. The event traces its roots back to 1996 when it was founded by gubernatorial First Lady Laura Bush who remains active in its production.

Locally, Ann Arbor has a June Book Festival, a September Kerrytown Book Festival and a spring time (May 19, 2013) Antiquarian Book Fair. Local authors, publishers, printers, and dealers keep their affairs focused on the area’s historic and still evolving literary heritage.

I’m curious if you have attended Book Fairs of merit in your area or while traveling. Much like attending the BEA, it’s a refreshing day spent with people who share your passion for books. Please email information to me about Book Fairs that you’ve attended that offer enrichment and entertainment. I’ll put your recommendations together for the January Newsletter when we all have blank calendars hanging over our desks.

The Business of eBooks

While four out five publishers are producing eBooks, 36% of them report “double digit annual eBook revenues.”Further, 68% make their books available on Amazon, 58% through the Apple iBookstore.

WalMart Drops Amazon Kindles

In what can only be described as a financial epiphany, someone at WalMart realized that Amazon was a major competitor and a much less important supplier, causing WalMart to discontinue sales of all Kindle products.

Fake” Reviews Doom Book

When activists disagreed with some facts in Daniel Halperin’s book Tinderbox they flooded Amazon’s customer reviews with one star ratings and successfully slashed sales.

Amazon Pays Sales Tax

Amazon has a goal of same day delivery for many of its products and so needs to build many more warehouses across the country. While previously known for its strong arm tactics to evade paying state sales taxes, Amazon has reversed course and will pay said taxes for items shipped in state from its expanding supply chain. Amazon’s California warehouses were deluged with orders as the tax deadline approached.

Art History Without Art

Students at Ontario College of Art and Design feel ripped off by Pearson Learning Solutions after purchasing a required Art History textbook that had blank spaces where the artwork would have been represented. The students were told to study the artwork online. A college spokesperson blamed print permission costs of copyrighted material for the blanks and argued that the book would have cost $800 instead of $180 if the artwork had been included.

Unreadable Rowling

Anxious eBook readers who ordered J.K. Rowlings first adult title The Casual Vacancy were upset that the text displayed was unreadably tiny, or, as in the Kindle edition, you could adjust it to be extremely large. Fixes commenced immediately. Remember last month’s piece (Too Quick to Press) about rushing manuscripts for online availability?

First CoursePacks, Now eReserve

A decision in a four year old lawsuit will be appealed. The court ruled against three scholarly presses, AAP and the Copyright Clearance Center, finding that Georgia State University did nothing wrong by directing faculty to use the library’s eReserve system to make resources available in lieu of the more traditional course packs. GSU’s eReserve system uses “Physical copies of books, audio CDs, or videos. (Library owned or personal copies may be submitted).”

Open Source Textbooks

The State of California will finance production of 50 lower level open source college textbooks which can be freely edited for the 2013 school year.

27 Things to Consider Before Going to Press

I’m not sure I agree with all 27 points, but as a small press publisher I can see how they deserve consideration before production planning has begun.

One Story, Two Editions

Harper Collins has simultaneously published Eric LeGrand’s story Believe in two editions; the adult trade edition subtitled “My Faith and the Tackle That Changed My Life,” and a Young Adult edition subtitled “The Victorious Story of Eric LeGrand.”

The Ig Noble Prize for Literature Goes to…

…John Perry from Stanford University for his treatise How to Procrastinate and Still Get Things Done,” Other winners presented here.

Graph Expo Next Week

If you’ll be in the Chicago area next week, the annual printers trade show Graph Expo will be happening at McCormick Place. While generally a printer centric event, seminar R-3 on Sunday morning is entitled E-Profit 101: A Publisher’s Guide to E-Book Production. Register here.

Recommended Book Blog

A Word Press Editor’s Pick for September by a fellow bibliophile.

Last Words

My purpose is to entertain myself first and other people secondly. John D. MacDonald


About Wayne Johnson 69 Articles

I’ve worked in book manufacturing for over 30 years, closing my company Baker Johnson, Inc. in 2005. Currently I work freelance with a large group of publishers, advising them on the printing options available to them as the book industry endures major restructuring.
My wife Cathy is a retired psychologist and spent most of her career working with the youth at Maxey Boys Training School. She is a small mammal rehabilitator with Friends of Wildlife.
Our daughter Whitney is a PharmD working in the Denver area evaluating the pharmaceutical requirements of nursing homes. Our son Eliot lives in Waterloo and is an editor at Mathematical Reviews in Ann Arbor.