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Go ahead, tax me, take my guns, but don’t touch my books


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“The Bookshop has a thousand books,

All colors, hues, and tinges,

And every cover is a door

That turns on magic hinges.”

 — Nancy Byrd Turner

The Wall Street Journal reported horrible, terrible bad news Monday. Barnes and Noble Inc. will be “downsizing,” and the company will close 20 stores a year for the next 10 years.

Only the stores that are losing money, though.

Barnes and Noble’s currently operates 689 retails stores, along with a separate chain of 674 college stores.

“In 10 years we’ll have 450 to 500 stores,” Mitchell Klipper, chief executive of Barnes & Noble’s retail group, said in an interview with WSJ’s Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg last week.

Hello! People are you listening? This is quite serious. We’ve already lost Borders Group Inc.

OK, I’ll calm down. (Breathe in, breathe out.)

I don’t want to inflict my personal opinions on you too early on a beautiful Saturday morning, but I just can’t hold it in.

You can take my guns, tax me at 80 percent and even close the Hostess Twinkie-making company, but people, please, this is serious — don’t mess with my books.

(Breathe in, breathe out.)

If you’re rolling your eyes as you read this and can’t relate to the seriousness of this issue, let me paint you an analogy picture.

Shutting down a bookstore is like watching college basketball without Hoosiers, Bulldogs or Boilermakers. Or watching college football without Notre Dame.

Shutting down a bookstore is like buying shoes, without ever trying any on.

Shutting down a bookstore is like being a bakery chef and never eating cake.

You just have to yell the question, “Why?”

(Breathe in, breathe out.)

At some point I have to ask myself some very pointed questions: Is this my fault?

Well, I must admit that I did, in fact, order one schoolbook this semester on Amazon.com. But this was after I purchased “Crafting the Personal Essay” in IUPUI’s Barnes and Noble bookstore.

My two college students always order their books online because they are frugal, and that’s how it’s done in this era. Both collegians also have ordered e-books for their classes, but both also have noted that they still like to use paper books best.

I also confess that I did order four books from Amazon.com as Christmas presents, but only after I couldn’t find them on any local shelves.

In seeking an honest answer, I also have to question whether I frequent local bookstores.

Tree of Life Christian Bookstore — yes, my nearby favorite.

Half Price Books — yes, way too much.

Kira’s Cottage and Bookstore — yes, before it closed last fall.

Barnes and Noble — was there Sunday and found an extra copy of the Indiana Gardening Magazine I wanted and the husband picked up a beehiving magazine. They have the best variety of magazines, local and national. Unfortunately, daughter Aly found an entire table of Seth Godin books, and Phoebe picked up two books also.

Of course, the public library always has been my favorite hangout.

I realize times are and will continue changing.

(Breathe in and breathe out.)

There’s nothing better than the inviting smell of the first page of an unread book.

Janet Hommel Mangas, the third of seven children, grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters.

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