The NCIBA in Pictures
View This Year’s NCIBA Book Catalog
You can find a pdf (2.4MB PDF) of our holiday (and beyond) catalog here; feel free to post it on your website. The catalog was inserted this year in all home subscriber copies of the San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News, and 40 NCIBA member bookstores are distributing personally imprinted copies to their customers.
This Year’s Catalog Cover
NCIBA Responds to President Obama’s Amazon Warehouse Visit
The ABA and regional associations representing independent bookstores all wrote letters in response to the President’s recent speech on the economy and jobs, delivered at a new Amazon warehouse in Chatanooga, TN. The NCIBA letter, reprinted here, offers reminders of Amazon’s true colors.
July 29, 2013
Dear President Obama,
I’m writing you on behalf of the members of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association to express our dismay at your decision to deliver an address on jobs at an Amazon warehouse.
Amazon is a company that for more than decade fought tooth-and-nail to protect a business model based on sales tax avoidance, in the process fueling other online companies to copy to its actions and costing states cumulatively billions of dollars.
Worse yet, in our state, Amazon’s CEO purposely misled the media and public officials by stating that his company shouldn’t have to pay sales tax in California because Amazon didn’t have a presence here and therefore wasn’t using services that sales tax covers. The fact is, of course, sales tax is collected by retailers on behalf of purchasers who are liable for it — Amazon wasn’t being asked to pay sales tax, only to do what other retailers are required to do legally in the states.
Amazon now has largely abandoned its sales tax avoidance strategy because it believes it needs to compete on delivery time. So warehouses have been opening across the country, including in Tennessee. Amazon has created jobs, to be sure, but they are often part-time (making those nasty health benefits a non-factor) and barely minimum wage. The company has made news with their warehouses, but it hasn’t always been about job creation. In Pennsylvania, employees were forced to work in extreme summer heat without any air conditioning, and you have no doubt been following Amazon’s labor troubles in Germany.
On top of all this, your Justice Department handed Amazon a monopoly on e-books with its recent ruling, assuring that independent bookstores will be unable to compete with e-books being sold as a loss leader to attract new Amazon customers. Ironically, while consumers will see lower prices, they will also see many fewer e-books published in the future. When Amazon decides not to lose money on the products, it will force e-book publishers to offer better terms. Given the already low margins, the response will be to simply not publish nearly as many titles. You’ll be able to buy the newest book by Dan Brown, just not anything by the next Dan Brown.
Your appearance at the Amazon warehouse in Chattanooga sends a clear signal to small independent businesses that our value as job creators and community linchpins is not as important as an arrogant chain behemoth’s contributions to states’ monetary shortfalls and creation of thousands more minimum wage, benefit-poor jobs.
We will continue to do what we do best as locally owned businesses — offer knowledge and service to our customers, create and support community growth and activity, make every effort to provide employees with fair wages and conducive working conditions. And some of us will continue to grow and employ new workers, as small business has always done, even with the Amazons of the world being excused for past transgressions and rewarded for predatory business practices.
We are disappointed that you feel Amazon deserves your attention and endorsement (even if implied). We hope you will carefully consider the message you are sending with such an appearance and perhaps re-think that message in the future.
Respectfully but with regret,
Northern California Independent Booksellers Association
Thank You, Simon & Schuster Authors!
California Bookstore Day Special Merchandise!
A list of limited edition books, artwork, and merchandise from authors like George Saunders, Neil Gaiman, Brian Selznick, and Michael Pollan that will be sold exclusively through participating bookstores on California Bookstore Day, May 3, 2014, is now available for perusal at cabookstoreday.com. The daylong event will also include numerous giveaways, in-store activities, author appearances, and more, as individual independent bookstores celebrate in their own unique way. The website will have an up-to-date list of participating bookstores, as well as planned events as the day grows nearer.
Hut’s Place: Weekly Words About Books
Weekly Column Touts New Titles, Good Reads On Store Shelves
NCIBA Executive Director Hut Landon is now writing a weekly column called HUT’S PLACE. The column, which is sent via email through Constant Contact to subscribers (for free), is aimed at book consumers. The goal is to keep readers up to date about new books hitting the shelves, share what booksellers are recommending in their stores, comment on titles landing on bestseller lists, and pass on occasional news about the book world.
Oh, and singing the praises of independent bookstores as often as possible.
Hut’s Place is not a place for long, wordy reviews or literary criticism; it’s designed to be a quick, fun read for book-buying customers and to motivate them to visit their local independent more frequently. Back issues of the column can be accessed here.
If you’re so inclined, email and we’ll send you a copy of the column. Then, if you’d like to help spread the word, simply forward that email to anyone you think would be interested; let them know they can subscribe for free by clicking the Join Our Mailing List button in the column.