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Bad News for Books

In a move straight out of 1984 (the book), Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has just signed into law a bill requiring any bookstore selling “sexually explicit materials” to register with the state. According to Publishers Weekly, stores will have to pay a $250 registration fee. Failure to register is against the law.

According to the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), the law is so broad that it could be applied to a mainstream novel, for example, the latest Danielle Steele.

Just in case you were wondering, Tipper Gore had nothing to do with this.

And in what looks like a blatant antitrust violation, amazon.com now requires that all print-on-demand books sold on their website be manufactured through their proprietary on-demand printer, whom they recently purchased to compete with Ingram Book Distributors’ popular Lightning Source supply system. This is especially disconcerting since amazon is a major source of sales for small or independent publishers whose books are kept on disc and printed as orders come in, rather than being manufactured and stored in a warehouse.

[postscript – good news on both fronts – the Indiana law was overturned and amazon backed down, allowing freedom of choice for small publishers

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March 30, 2008 Posted by | Literature, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment