This time, it is the Barnes & Noble in Apple Valley. The bookstore is closing on Dec. 31, the fourth Twin Cities bookstore to close in recent weeks, but the fifth or sixth to be quietly teetering on the brink. For a long time, we were pretty confident that Minnesota, being such a reading-and-writing place, was immune to the troubles of bookstores elsewhere. Bookstores here seemed solid.

But now, in a flurry, we have lost Barnes & Noble in Highland Park, the Bookcase of Wayzata, Barnes & Noble in downtown Rochester. SubText in St. Paul has taken to social media, launching a fundraising campaign to stay in business, and lovely Micawber's is in trouble.

Chapter 2 in Hudson, Wis., moved to new quarters this year and has seen a steep drop in business. Its lease is up in the spring, when it will reassess. In the meantime, its owners and other bookstore owners are hoping for a strong holiday season to help keep them afloat.

This seems as good a time as any to remind you about Indies First, which pairs authors with bookstores on Small Business Saturday. This started last year, the brainchild of Sherman Alexie and embraced by bookstores and authors all over the country.

This is more than authors signing their own books; this is authors embedded in the store, running the cash register, making recommendations, chatting with customers.

This year's spokespeople are Neil Gaiman and his wife, Amanda Palmer. In an open letter, they wrote about some of the wonderful things that had happened to them in bookstores, adding, "The Internet cannot make this magic happen. It cannot suggest books you have no idea you want. There's nothing like the human, organic serendipity of an independent bookshop, where people who read and love books share their love with others."

I know that Amazon is often cheaper. I know that it can be, in some ways, easier. I hope that when it comes to books we are about more than just easy and cheap.

On Nov. 29, you will find, among others, Mary Logue at Common Good Books, Will Alexander and David LaRochelle at Red Balloon, Jacqueline West and David Housewright at Chapter 2, Wendy Webb and Peter Geye at Valley Booksellers in Stillwater. (Check for the schedule.)

And while the Barnes & Noble in Apple Valley is not an indie, it also has events planned for that day. The store will host a "mystery writers extravaganza" beginning at 1 p.m., with Marilyn Jax, Craig MacIntosh, Scott Dominic Carpenter, Deb Jensen, Redmond Herring and Bob Rueff.

It is sad, so sad, that the store must close, but perhaps it can, at least, go not with a whimper, but a bang.