BTW News Briefs

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Updated: May 12, 2017*

With Amazon Collecting, Utah’s Sales Tax Revenue Jumps Dramatically

Since Amazon started collecting and remitting sales tax at the beginning of 2017, sales by non-store retailers have increased by 122 percent and, as a result, sales tax revenue has seen a proportionate increase over that same time period, as reported by the Salt Lake Tribune.

Sales data between January 1 and the end of February shows that the Utah Tax Commission recorded $195 million in taxable sales from “non-store retailers,” an increase of $107 million from the same period in 2016, the article explained. A proportionate bump for entire year non-store retailer sales would come to $691 million in 2017, and the resulting sales tax would equal $32 million to the state and $14 million to counties and municipalities, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The article notes that it is unclear exactly what percentage of that bump in sales can be directly attributed to Amazon, as the Tax Commission reported that it recently reached compliance agreements with other online retailers. That said, Amazon owns 43 percent of the online retail market, according to Slice Intelligence. The state budget anticipates that Internet sales tax revenues will increase by $800,000.

Authors, Publishers Oppose New Amazon “Buy Button” Rule

The Authors Guild and the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) have both released statements decrying Amazon’s new policy of allowing third-party book resellers to compete for the main “buy box” (also called the “buy button”) for books in new condition.

Both the Author’s Guild and the IBPA contend that by opening up competition to second-hand book distributors, who often sell at a steep discount, this new rule will likely cut into author and publisher profits, especially on backlist titles. Previously, the main buy box, labeled “Add to Cart,” has been assigned, by default, to the publisher; now, an algorithm decides whether Amazon or a third-party seller gets the box. This may mean dropping the publisher listing lower in the list of sellers, and, at Amazon’s discretion, the listing may even fall off the buy page completely.

According to IBPA, with this new policy, “Amazon, once again, is attempting to drive down the value of books, and therefore intellectual property and creative work in general.”

Read the Guild’s full statement here and the IBPA’s full statement here.

*In response to the above BTW news brief, Amazon sent the following statement: “[Amazon has] listed and sold books, both new and used, from third party sellers for many years. The recent changes allow sellers of new books to be the ‘featured offer’ on a book’s detail page, which means that our bookstore now works like the rest of Amazon, where third party sellers compete with Amazon for the sale of new items. Only offers for new books are eligible to be featured.”

Mark Allin Resigns as Wiley CEO

Mark Allin has resigned as CEO of John Wiley & Sons, citing family reasons; his resignation from the Hoboken, New Jersey-based publisher is effective immediately.

Allin joined Wiley 16 years ago with the company’s purchase of Capstone Publishing, the U.K.-based publisher he founded. Allin started at Wiley as managing director of Wiley Asia and senior vice president Asia-Pacific. In 2010, he became executive vice president of professional development and, in 2015, chief operating officer; following that, he became company president and CEO.

Matthew Kissner, Wiley’s chairman of the board, has been named interim CEO; in the meantime, the board has begun a search for Allin’s successor.

2017 Best Translated Book Award Winners Announced

The winners of the 10th annual Best Translated Book Awards were announced on Thursday, May 4, in New York City.

Lúcio Cardoso’s Chronicle of the Murdered House, translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson, won for fiction, and Alejandra Pizarnik’s Extracting the Stone of Madness, translated by Yvette Siegert, won for poetry. The winners will each receive $10,000, to be split equally between author and translator.

A number of indie booksellers served as judges for the 2017 contest, including Lori Feathers (Interabang Books), Jeremy Garber (Powell’s Books), and Mark Haber (Brazos Bookstore) on the fiction jury, and Jarrod Annis (Greenlight Bookstore) and Emma Ramadan (Riffraff Bookstore) on the poetry jury.

See all winners here.

Winners Announced for the 2017 Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers

H. Melt and Victor Yates have been named the winners of this year’s Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers, presented by Lambda Literary, the nation’s leading national nonprofit organization promoting LGBTQ literature.

The Emerging Writer Award, which consists of two cash prizes of $1,000, is made possible by Judith A. Markowitz, who is committed to helping LGBT literature flourish by recognizing talented new writers. To qualify for the award, recipients must have published up to two books or one book and additional literary work such as short stories, essays, or journalistic articles.

Melt and Yates will be recognized as winners at the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards ceremony on June 12 in New York City.

British Book Award Winners Announced

The winners of this year’s British Book Awards, also known as The Nibbies, were announced at a ceremony on Monday, May 8.

Produced by publishing industry magazine The Bookseller, the British Book Awards are the definitive event for honoring the commercial successes of publishers, authors, and bookshops in the U.K. This year, Pan Macmillan was named Publisher of the Year for the second time in three years, Nosy Crow was named Children’s Publisher of the Year, and Waterstones was named Book Retailer of the Year.

The winners of Books of the Year in six categories were:

  • Fiction Book of the Year: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (Serpent’s Tail)
  • Debut Book of the Year: What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell (Picador)
  • Crime and Thriller Book of the Year: Dodgers by Bill Beverly (No Exit Press)
  • Nonfiction: Narrative Book of the Year: East West Street by Philippe Sands (W&N)
  • Nonfiction: Lifestyle Book of the Year: Hello, is this Planet Earth? by Tim Peake (Century)
  • Children’s Book of the Year: The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargreave (Chicken House)

See all of this year’s winners here.

Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist Announced

A shortlist of six titles has been announced for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the most prestigious award for science fiction in Britain, which is given annually for the best science fiction novel first published in the U.K. during the previous year.

This year’s shortlist was selected from a list of 86 individual eligible submissions; the winner is chosen by a jury panel made up of a voluntary body of distinguished writers, critics, and fans. The first Arthur C. Clarke Award was given in 1987 to Margaret Atwood for The Handmaid’s Tale.

The 2017 winner will be announced at a public award ceremony held in partnership with Foyles Bookshop on Thursday, July 27, where the winner will be presented with a check for £2,017 and the award itself, a commemorative engraved bookend.

See the entire shortlist here.