Wednesday, October 26, 2016

California Assembly Bill 1570

I’m back from vacation. Not the best time to schedule a trip to Florida as it turns out. We did a 2 week driving trip so we just avoided the parts of Florida Hurricane Matthew was expected to reach and spent more time in Alabama than we originally planned. That meant we missed the Keys and the Everglades, our primary intended destinations.

We did find lots of interesting things to see in Alabama. Every time I notice my name on something when I’m traveling (a rare occurrence) I have to check it out, even if it’s not spelled the same way. In Birmingham, Alabama we found the Temple of Sibyl. It originally was on the grounds of someone’s house. The owner intended to be buried under it. But he was buried elsewhere and, when the property went up for sale, the “temple” was bought by the local garden society and moved to where we found it. It’s now used for weddings.

Sybil at the Temple of Sibyl
When I’m on vacation, I only occasionally check email. This time around I noticed a flurry of messages on one of the lists I’m on talking about a bill recently passed by the California state legislature, Assembly Bill 1570. This bill was meant to tighten restrictions on memorabilia dealers, but has unintended consequences for bookstores and author signings. It goes into effect January 1st of next year.

If you want to read the actual bill, it’s here.

Michael Hiltzik, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, wrote a very interesting article that talks about the possible consequences of this bill for book sellers in the state.

Basically, the bill requires certificates of authenticity for autographed memorabilia sold in California or to Californians. It wasn’t meant to apply to bookstores and author signings, but from what I’ve read, unintentionally does so. According to Hiltzik’s column, “Sacramento experts say the law doesn’t apply to bookstores selling author-autographed books, but the text itself is vague on the issue.”

No matter what those experts say, if I were a bookseller I’d probably be a little nervous. As Hiltzik points out, it’s the booksellers that bear the legal risk if a judge decides the experts are wrong. I personally haven’t heard of any bookstore doing anything differently based on this upcoming law, but it’s early days and it’s causing quite a kerfuffle among authors in the state.

The issue has been pointed out to the appropriate parties and a fix may be in the works “if it’s needed.” Only time will tell what the consequences are.

In the meantime, Dru’s book musings ( is doing a cover reveal for the next book in my mystery series, A Palette for Murder, on Sunday, 10/30. Drop by and check it out.

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