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Noble Positioning?

[whitespace] Corporate Barnes & Noble stands firm, but local outlets silenced by indictments

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

The recent grand jury indictments in two Southern states against Barnes & Noble booksellers has had an effect upon the ability to purchase books by Jock Sturges and David Hamilton from two of the chain's bookstores in Silicon Valley, namely that the store managers here are afraid to talk about it.

When asked if the controversial books could be found on store shelves this week, a manager at the Barnes & Noble bookstore on Stevens Creek Boulevard said that Radiant Identities and The Age of Innocence were presently not in stock at that store and said he could not make any other comment.

Although the store normally gives out information over the telephone concerning the availability of its books, a manager at the Barnes & Noble store in Campbell refused to say whether or not the Jock Sturges book was presently in stock. "We have had the book in stock from time to time in the past," the manager said. "I'm sorry. I just can't say any more." He referred a reporter to the company's corporate headquarters for any further information.

In a prepared statement from the company's New York headquarters, Barnes & Noble's Senior Vice President Mary Ellen Keating said that her company intended to plead not guilty to the charges of distributing material that is obscene and would not "remove books from our shelves because one or more citizens object to their content. We do not believe that freedom of choice includes the freedom to stop others from reading what they choose to read." Keating was not available for further comment.

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From the March 19-25, 1998 issue of Metro.

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