Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Having a moment of clarity

After my righteous anger riff at City Lights yesterday,I forced myself to become Bruce Banner again(Little Sister always compares me to the Incredible Hulk when I get steamed up about something)and sent an e-mail to BookSeller Chick about the entire mess to get her take on it. Not only was she nice enough to read my blog but she took up the issue herself(you can check it out thru the title link above)and gave me a link,too.

I found BSC's blog via Miss Snark(Supreme Queen of the Literary Agent Scene)and have really enjoyed hearing someone speak openly and honestly about life on the sales floor,not to mention her love of reading. I always felt too nervous about talking about my job,plus I didn't want to make this blog a bitchfest(that's why LiveJournal has a place in the universe-joke,I swear!). BSC has shown me that you can take the good,take the bad and put it into clear and clever perspective without any bitter aftertaste.

I also learned from her post today(according to a story told to her by a customer)that Powells,one of the biggest indie bookstores in the U.S.,has a "Kooks" section where books by Ann Coulter are shelved.*Sigh*Too sad for words. My hope here is that some of this being brought to light will open up some dialogue between book sellers and readers to agree to disagree and share our mutual love of the written word. A couple of posters have mentioned that this is not the same as keeping books out of a library and my response is this:

I feel that a general bookstore(this doesn't let a speciality store off the good manners hook,btw)is like a defense attorney when it comes to controversal books. You are obiligated to give your clients the best representation that you can provide and you should properly advise someone if you're unable to assist them fully. Your store can chose not to stock certain authors but if someone wants you to get that book for them and you're able to do so,why shouldn't they expect the same service you'ld give to a guy or gal wanting to get a book by one of your favorite writers?

If you can't get it,atleast advise them where they can and keep your personal opinions about it to yourself. I remember one time at my old job,when one of my co-workers rang up a travel guide to Israel for a woman and her young daughter and this co-worker actually said to the woman"Oh,you shouldn't be going there,it's so dangerous!" A lady browsing thru the greeting cards nearby took her to task for that,saying how she herself felt safer in Jerusalem than on the streets of New York.

My co-worker(not one of my favorite people in the world)actually thought she wasn't doing anything wrong,since there were alot of current news stories about violence in Israel at the time. It was wrong,just as bad as saying"we don't carry books by facists"-yes,the sale was made but what gives anyone the right to tell others what they should think or do based on their own limited viewpoint of the world? That's why we're a democracy,folks-freedom of speech and thought aren't just cool catchphrases.

So,do check out BSC,not just on this particular issue but to get some reading recommendations and a few good laughs(which is also needed in crazy times like these).

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