BTW News Briefs

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More Good New for Retailers from Ernst & Young, Consumer Confidence Index

This past month, consumer survey after consumer survey has predicted that this will be a banner holiday selling season for retailers -- Ernst & Young's 2003 Holiday Sales Forecast is no different. It anticipates that the 2003 retail holiday sales increases for November and December will be 5.2 percent -- compared to a 3.4 percent increase for the same period last year.

In related news, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, which declined in September, advanced in October and now stands at 81.1, up from 77 in September. In a press statement, Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center, noted that "the belief that this will continue has boosted expectations. With the holiday season around the corner, this improvement in consumers' spirits is a good omen for upcoming retail sales."

Tattered Cover's Meskis Receives ADL's 2003 Civil Rights Awards

Joyce Meskis, owner of the Tattered Cover Book Store, will receive the Anti-Defamation League's 2003 Civil Rights Awards for her leadership and achievements in the areas of civil and human rights at a luncheon on Wednesday, December 10 in Denver.

Meskis is being recognized as a champion of First Amendment rights, including her recent victory in Tattered Cover v. City of Thornton, in which the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that her refusal to release a customer's book purchase records to the North Metro Drug Task Force, which was investigating the Tattered Cover patron, was constitutionally protected.

Call for Nominations for PEN Newman's Own Award 2004

The PEN American Center announced recently that nominations are now being accepted for its 2004 PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award, which carries a $25,000 prize. In its 12th year, the award honors an individual who has fought to protect freedom of expression as it applies to the written word. More information and application forms are available in downloadable form from PEN's Web site,

Thurber Prize for American Humor to Become an Annual Literary Event

On November 13, Thurber House, the national literary center for writers and readers, announced that, after a three-year hiatus, The Thurber Prize for American Humor would return as an annual award in 2004. Originally presented in 1997, 1999, and 2001, the awards will be presented annually beginning in 2004, and the latest prize will be awarded at a ceremony at New York's famed Algonquin Hotel.

The prize is to be conferred upon the author and publisher of the outstanding book of humor writing published in the United States between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2003. Initiated in 1996, the Thurber Prize for American Humor is designed to be the nation's highest recognition of the art of humor writing. The award carries with it a $5,000 prize for the winning author and a nationwide media campaign. Three finalists will be announced in September 2004, and the winner will not be revealed until the November event at the Algonquin.

SEBA On the Move

The Southeast Booksellers Association has a new address: 2611 Forest Drive, #124, Columbia, South Carolina 29204. The phone number is (800) 331- 9617.