This week we celebrate our nation’s independence, and I’m kicking things off a little early. I’m delighted to see our bookselling neighbors over at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham are joining the blogosphere. The Regulator has long been active in promoting the local economic benefits of indie stores (they’ve done the numbers) and has been a great champion of free speech. A recent post on their blog discusses current court cases challenging new restrictions in Oregon and Indiana regarding the sale of “sexually explicit” material (“sexually explicit” is defined so loosely, in the Indiana case even a store that sells a book on sexual health would have to register and pay a $250 fee). The Regulator is a member of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, an advocacy organization started by the American Booksellers Association to help give voice to independent bookstores in the battle against censorship. Rights to free speech and a free press may have been the law of the land for more than two hundred years, but they still require vigilant defense, even today.