Saturday, December 5, 2009

Books are Dangerous


I was called down to the counter last week to talk to someone who had asked for the manager. Waiting for me was a priest, and he was holding this book, Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary. He said to me, "This book is very offensive to the Virgin Mary. I'm wondering if you also carry books that are offensive to Judaism and Islam." My response was "I'm sure we carry lots of books that are offensive to a lot of people." He was polite and thanked me and put the book back and left.
I know this sort of thing happens all the time. Once, back when the Balkan War was raging, a man with an Eastern European accent approached a Green Apple employee with a copy of The Lonely Planet Guide to Serbia and Croatia or something like that. The man was shaking with rage, and he said "They are two different places." The employee wasn't sure how to respond, and the man repeated what he'd said, then he ripped the book in two right in front of the employee.
My point is that most things are offensive to somebody. This story in the Chronicle got my dander up. It is about how bookstores in the Bay Area aren't carrying Sarah Palin's book because they disagree with her politics. I can see a bookstore not carrying a book because they honestly don't think they can sell a copy, but for a general-interest bookstore to edit a book out because they disagree with the contents seems like a slippery slope.
The point I want to make is that Green Apple does not stand behind every book we sell (we have our book of the month for that). The store is filled with all sorts of crackpot, idiotic, self-serving, meretricious and offensive books. There are also quite a number of worthy ones. Have at them.

6 comments:

Luke Lozier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke said...

Thanks for carrying them Kevin. If not for the indies carrying offensive things, surely the chains would buckle under "community" pressure and we'd only be able to get offended in dark alleys!!

Luke said...

Sorry for deleting my first post.

I Took the curse words out. Don't want jack googling me in a few years and finding his papa being vulgar.

It would be offensive!

gilbertlemon said...

Good mind, good find........................................

Jeff Scott said...

Not having a book because of the opinion of the author is censorship. I'm surprised any bookstore could blatantly get away with this.

Good for indie bookstores for having everything, not just a filtered view of the world. (Libraries help with this too :)

kpr said...

It's not really censorship, because bookstores still have the right to decide what to carry, and theoretically the book is readily available from other sources. I just think it is bad customer service and thus bad business.