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Tariffs and Religion impact an area book store

Schofield, Wis. (WAOW) — Religious Publishers say new tariffs on Chinese imports could create a Bible shortage and a local shop owner said she’s already seeing an impact.

At Christian Faith book store on Schofield Ave., bibles line the wall. Stephanie Wanish, the store owner, pulled a good book off the shelf to take a look inside. “Published here in the United States,” she said. “And printed in China.”

Those few words, written on one of the first pages on most Bibles in her store, could make a big impact.

New tariffs from the Trump Administration on Chinese imports are, “levying a ‘Bible Tax’ on consumers and religious and educational organizations,” wrote Mark Schoenwald, CEO for HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

In central Wisconsin, one store said they’ve already seen the impact. Rhonda Zahn, an employee at Christian Faith book store, said, “It’s not just Bibles, it is all of our merchandise in the store.”

Zahn said prices have increased up to three dollars per item since the beginning of 2019.

“The stress of it is, I need to pay the bills,” said Wanish, emphasizing the impact of tariffs and online shoppers.

“This is not a big money maker but it is a big joy maker,” she said, but for Wanish the store is about more than joy. She said it is about carrying on a legacy started in 1953 when the store first opened.

More than sixty years later, Wanish is fighting with increasing prices and online shopping to keep the store alive. “There is always hope,” she said. “No matter how down you are there is hope.”

Employees at the store said they sold four Bibles on Wednesday and that you can never have too many. Wanish also stated, “The one thing that will never change is the word of God.”

The Bible continues to be the top-selling book in the United States with an estimated 20 million sold each year.

Tom Lally

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