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Germán Poo-Caamaño / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Just a few short years ago, the future of independent bookstores looked bleak. First, they were undercut by big box stores like Barnes & Noble and Borders, which could often offer both lower prices and a greater selection. Then, Amazon arrived on the scene, upending the book-selling business with all the grace of a gorilla reorganizing a library.  

Today, Borders is gone, Barnes & Noble is downsizing, and independent bookstores?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is defending its eGRID system against a critique by an analytics think tank.

Companies all across the U.S. use eGRID to calculate their own indirect carbon emissions based on how much electricity they use. And it's not uncommon to see a company brag about a) their transparency on emissions and b) their progress in reducing their indirect emissions to fight climate change. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Starting Thursday, more online companies will add the Michigan sales tax to purchases made by Michigan customers.

Online retail giant Amazon is among the companies that will add the 6% tax to their bills.

Tom Scott with the Michigan Retailers Association says compelling online companies with a presence in Michigan to charge the sales tax is a matter of fairness.

Amit Evron / Wikipedia.org

It’s a little-known chapter in the history of the Ford Motor Company.

And all that’s left today are ruins and a ghost town deep in the Amazon rainforest.

Matt Anderson tells us the story of Henry Ford’s great “social and business experiment” nearly a century ago, in Brazil. He’s the curator of transportation for The Henry Ford Research Center.

A hundred years ago, the British and Dutch controlled the world’s rubber production. The rubber tree was native to the Amazon, and the English took seedlings from Brazil to Southeast Asia for mass production.

Open Books

It's finally summertime – time to relax on that lawn chair out in the sunshine and read a good book. 

Amazon.com has published its fourth annual list of the most well-read cities in America, and Ann Arbor is ranked sixth.

The ranking is determined by compiling sales data of all books, magazines, and newspapers,  published in print or online. 

At the top of the list is Alexandria, Virginia, followed by Miami, Florida and Knoxville, Tennessee. Ann Arbor is followed by other college towns, like Berkeley, California, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Flickr/Sarah Sosiak

Michigan's Treasury Department says the state will lose about $242 million in tax revenue from Amazon and other online retailers.

States have trouble collecting sales taxes from sellers that don't have a physical presence within their borders. Amazon owns Grand-Haven-based audio book publisher Brilliance Audio, but Treasury spokesman Terry Stanton says Michigan considers it a separate entity.

An Ann Arbor-based consumer research firm says there’s been a shift in people’s online shopping habits. 

Ann Arbor-based ForeSee asked more than eight thousand online shoppers about their satisfaction levels with 40 of the nation’s top web retailers.   ForeSee released its 7th annual Holiday E-Retail Satisfaction Index today.