Part Two: No, Authors, California Isn’t Abusing You (or Bookstores)
About a week and a half ago I debunked the FUD about California supposedly passing a law which was going to make it difficult to sell an autographed book in that state.
I cited the Scrivener’s Error blog which had pointed out that the law only applied to "dealers" who were "principally in the business of selling or offering for sale collectibles", thus excluding most booksellers (and all authors).
Now I have a second opinion. Reason.com covered the story last week, and after first posting the usual misinterpretation they updated their post with a correction:
A legislative source who asked not to be named as he is not officially deputized with the job of explaining things to the media tells me today that in his opinion of both the intent and the precise language of the bill, the sort of book dealers complaining about this should stop worrying: that the law is both not intended to apply to them and by the letter of it would not be interpreted as such.
The word he points to that he thinks absolves them? At 1739.7 (a) (4)(A) the definition of "Dealer" has an extra word than its definition in the text atop the bill, from which I directly quoted above, saying that a dealer "means a person who is principally in the business of selling or offering for sale collectibles."
With that word "principally," this source believes that a book dealer who only sells a few, some, or at any rate a small percentage of his total sales, autographed items (which is what "collectibles" means in the letter of this law) is not apt to be considered to have to obey this law and its onerous paperwork requirements.
So there you have it.
We now have two different sources offering a straightforward explanation as to why this law will not make California slide into the sea. The explanation makes more sense than the counter arguments, and
It is now clear that this story was initially blown all out of proportion.
image by bambe1964