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April 14, 2006

Don't Believe The Hype (Megastores Can Be Reasonable)

Listening to talk radio, I got the impression that bookstores are run by sneaky liberal kooks whose sole mission in life is to corrupt our minds through product placement. Which may be largely true, but not in all cases.

Cameron, of Woody's Woundup recently discovered that an anti-LDS book was being featured on an Easter display at the bookstore where he works.

Irked, he wrote a letter.

The book is Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven . . . . It is not a happy or religiously inspirational book to read, certainly. The back cover alone, which describes the Mormon church as "Taliban-like", would be amusing in some other context. The book itself is less amusing, arguing that Mormons - all Mormons, and not just a few polygamist nutjobs - are potentially violent, perhaps murderously so, precisely because of our religion. (Yes, I am Mormon.)

Well, Krakauer is certainly free to have such a view and to write it, just as B&N is free to sell his book in an open market place.

What I want to know is, how did this book end up on two - count them, 2 - different displays on Barnes & Noble's display tables? And, in regards to at least one table, I'm talking about Store List books, books that some yahoo in a cubicle in Marketing at B&N's headquarters has decided need to be displayed on specific tables or endcaps in the store.

Under the Banner of Heaven appears on both the "Religion & Inspiration" table and, amazingly, the Easter table.

It boggles the mind. Unless I missed one, Krakauer's book is the ONLY negatively-themed book on BOTH tables. As it is frankly a sloppily-researched attack on a major religion, what is it doing on these displays?

I read that post by Cameron, and figured it would turn out to be a venting experience for him, with no expectation of any response from the corporate monolith. But I was mistaken.

B&N wrote back.

You are absolutely correct. Under the Banner of Heaven should never have been included with the Easter display we are glad you took the time to bring this to our attention. It was an oversight on the buyers end, and we hope you accept our apologies. It is never our intention to insult our customers or our Booksellers.

There is a message that went out on BN.Inside today instructing the stores to remove the title from the Easter table and place it in Trade Paperback Favorites.

Stunning. You know, if I wasn't already a big B&N fan, they would certainly have earned my business for such a prompt and reasonable response to Cameron's letter. And kudos to Cameron for making the effort. I would've assumed I'd be ignored, and probably done nothing.

Posted by annika, Apr. 14, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: annikapunditry


But the Mormons ARE a bunch of heretics.

Posted by: Casca on Apr. 14, 2006

Casca, Don't you mean Muslims? Last time I looked, the Mormons weren't doing suicide bombing or head choppings. Being a tolerant sort, what's wrong with a little polygamy? Keeps it in the family, and tax deductions to die for.

Posted by: MarkD on Apr. 15, 2006