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There are many reasons bookstores point to for their successful holiday season. President Obama, they note, set the stage when he took his daughters, Sasha and Malia, to One More Page Books in Arlington, Va., on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, where he snapped up 15 children’s books.

Small bookstores report that they are also benefiting from the popularity of Kobo e-readers, which were designed for independent bookstores and allow customers to buy e-books through the independents’ Web sites, as opposed to say, Amazon.

Steve Bercu, an owner of BookPeople in Austin, Tex., said sales were up 10 percent over last year. He said that shoppers were buying coffee-table books but were also snapping up Kobo devices. “I was a naysayer,” he said, “but they are buying the actual devices, which surprised me.”

Becky Anderson, the owner of Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, Ill., said: “Our Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales were up considerably over last year. That includes hardcovers and purchases made over the Internet, which we either ship or that you can pick up at the store.”

Ms. Anderson’s was a familiar story across the nation, according to the American Booksellers Association, a trade group for independent bookstores. Dan Cullen, a spokesman for the association, said that in-store book sales for November, which includes Black Friday and the start of Christmas shopping, were up 10 percent compared with 2011 figures.

“And while we expect to see some leveling off in the year-over-year numbers in December — due to the fact that December 2011 was a pretty strong month — sales for the indies are continuing strong,” Mr. Cullen said.

Barnes & Noble, by contrast, reported a slight decrease in retail sales over the Thanksgiving weekend from those a year before. The company said the decrease was expected because its sales last year were bolstered by the closing of many Borders stores after that chain went out of business.

– The New York Times, "No Big Hits, But Bookshops Say They’re Thriving"

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s chairman said on Tuesday that regulators plan to review allegations that Morgan Stanley shared negative news before Facebook’s initial public offering with institutional investors.

"The allegations, if true, are a matter of regulatory concern" to FINRA and SEC, Ketchum told Reuters.

Ketchum made the remarks to Reuters in response to allegations that Morgan Stanley, the lead underwriter on the deal, unexpectedly delivered some negative news to major clients in the run-up to Facebook’s $16 billion IPO: The bank’s consumer Internet analyst, Scott Devitt, was reducing his revenue forecasts for the company.

Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth William Galvin has issued a subpoena to Morgan Stanley over the discussions with investors on Facebook.

It is unusual for analysts at lead underwriters to make such changes so close to the IPO, sources said. It is unclear whether Morgan Stanley only told its top clients about the revised view or spread the word more broadly.

"The Securities Division has put out a subpoena to Morgan Stanley in connection with the analyst’s discussion with certain institutional investors about the revenue prospects for Facebook,” a spokesman for Galvin’s office said.

Morgan Stanley maintains that its handling of the Facebook IPO was in compliance with standard procedure.

"Morgan Stanley followed the same procedures for the Facebook offering that it follows for all IPOs. These procedures are in compliance with all applicable regulations," the brokerage said in a statement to CNBC.

CNBC, “Regulators to Review Morgan Stanley Facebook Allegations.”

I know it’s only been five days since the IPO but man, this whole Facebook thing has devolved into a grand fucking mess.

“There is no sustainable business model based on customer confusion.”

Verizon spokeswoman BRENDA RANEY, explaining why her company’s pricing structure for data and phone services could not possibly be misleading to consumers.

Which is why they need to resort to fine print in their broadcast, print and web ads, I guess.

Fucking idiots.

(via the New York Times)

Apple has finally decided what to do with its cash hoard of nearly $100 billion.

The company issued an unusual media alert on Sunday evening saying it planned to announce on Monday morning the long-awaited outcome to a discussion by its board about what to do with its cash balance. It will announce its plans in a conference call at 9 a.m. Eastern time.

Apple, which recently released the newest version of its iPad, said it would not provide any information about how its business was going in the current quarter, restricting the discussion with reporters to questions about its cash.

Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., is widely expected to announce a plan to issue a continuing dividend to its shareholders. As its cash has piled up, Wall Street analysts and investors have begun to call more loudly for Apple to return some of it to shareholders as dividends. Although having too much cash is rarely seen as a burden for a company, Apple earns less than 1 percent in interest on the cash, which many investors view as wasteful.

Until recently, Apple had resisted pressure to issue a dividend, a practice often associated with mature companies that have settled into slower rates of sales and earnings growth.

While it is more than three and a half decades old, Apple has been on a growth spurt that is highly unusual for a company of its age. The success of new products like the iPhone and iPad has propelled both revenue and profits; during the holiday quarter, for example, the company more than doubled its profit from the same period in the prior year.

Apple issued shareholder dividends earlier in its history, stopping in December 1995.

The New York Times, “Apple Says It Will Announce Decision About Its Cash.”

Any bets that Apple will announce some sort of charitable foundation a la Bill and Melinda Gates today?  Or ever?