NYT – “California, with a colossal hole in its budget and 12 percent unemployment, is confronting this quandary as it tries to compel Amazon.com to collect sales tax. Amazon is so confident that bargain-hunting consumers will rally to its side that it is essentially ignoring the law. Maybe they will. But as the battle between the state and the retailer was heating up late last week, news came that Serendipity Books in Berkeley was closing. Antiquarian stores like Serendipity were once plentiful. They specialized in winnowing the detritus of the past, plucking the important material for collectors, scholars and institutions. Serendipity was for decades one of the best such shops, and eventually one of the last. In the years to come, people will have a hard time appreciating there were such places, where anyone who wanted to could look and learn and buy, or maybe just while away a rainy afternoon. So let’s spend a moment giving Serendipity its due.”
ebookNewser – “Twitter is a buzz Sunday night with the news that Amazon had added social networking features to the Kindle support site at kindle.amazon.com. Kindle users can now create a profile page, follow other Kindle users, share details about their reading habits, and so on. I’m not sure that this qualifies as news, other than the fact it happened so quietly. The new features appear to have been launched quite some time ago; there are some users with hundreds if not thousands of followers.”
Bloomberg – “Sony Corp. (SNE), Japan’s largest exporter of consumer electronics, plans to introduce a line of upgraded digital book readers in the U.S. as early as next month to challenge Kindle maker Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) The current Sony Reader, now priced from $180 to $300, will probably be offered with hardware and software improvements in August, Phil Lubell, vice president of digital reading at Sony Electronics, said yesterday in an interview in San Francisco.”
AP – “Amazon says its Kindle e-reader will get the ability to load e-books from 11,000 U.S. public libraries later this year. Most U.S. libraries already provide e-books, which work with nearly all e-readers except the Kindle. They’re also accessible on many smartphones and tablets like the iPad.”
NYT – “Amazon’s announcement that it will start selling an advertising-supported Kindle at a discounted price has provoked some grumbling about the commercialization of the reading experience.
But books haven’t always been an ad-free zone, as this 2007 essay by Paul Collins from the Book Review shows. Back in the mid-19th century, readers of Dickens serials were bombarded with paeans to Freeman’s Spermazine Wax Lights and Dr. Lucock’s Pulmonic Wafers. And in the 1960s and 1970s, you could hardly open a mass-market paperback without encountering a pitch for Q-Tips, Sanka or Canadian Club.
BusinessWire – “Amazon.com, Inc. today announced that customers who subscribe to The New York Times for Kindle will be receiving access to The New York Times Web site at no additional charge. The date for Kindle New York Times subscribers’ free online access is yet undetermined; subscribers will receive further communication via e-mail in the coming weeks. “Customers love reading The New York Times on their Kindles,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content. “Given The Times’ transition to a digital subscription model, we’re excited to be able to offer Kindle subscribers online access to all the digital content available at NYTimes.com at no additional cost.”