President Bush has signed a two-year extension to the government ban on charging taxes for purchases made on the Internet, citing the need "to ensure the growth of the Internet is not slowed by additional taxation and that holiday shoppers will not be burdened by new taxes on their online purchases."

The original ban on Internet taxes was passed in 1998 and lapsed on October 21. Independent booksellers, supported by the American Booksellers Association, have protested the ban, claiming it gives an unfair advantage to online bookstores and places the tax burden on bricks-and-mortar stores.

Oren Teicher, chief operating officer of the ABA, said, "We're still working with the E-fairness Coalition, of which we were one of the founders, to encourage the 45 state governments that collect sales taxes to do so. The original law was a ban on passing new taxes. It's always been our position that under existing law it is not only their right, but their obligation. Government has no business picking favorites between one kind of retailer or another. Why should one kind of retailer get a break?" --Edward Nawotka