Thursday, April 16, 2009

All Books Are Created Equal

Maybe you've heard about the recent brouhaha over Amazon's delisting of certain titles based on their categorization of books as adult or gay themed. Amazon claimed they did it in response to the complaints of certain customers, and that there was a mistake in their algorithm, whatever that means. It's caused an explosion of protests among the book bloggers, publishers, authors and booksellers we follow on Twitter. Some have complained that the categorization is a form of close-minded censorship; others point out that Amazon's categorizations are overly broad, causing some really good literature to be blacklisted.

It's really struck a chord with us here at The Bookstore. Amazon is our primary competitor, and there's admittedly a little schadenfreude in seeing them caught in a public relations snafu. But it's way more than that. Here at The Bookstore we believe that all books and all customers are created equal. It's not just some first amendment lip service, it's really part of our mission as a good neighbor in Glen Ellyn.

No matter how homogeneous our little village may seem to be on the surface, anybody who's lived here long enough knows that we are a diverse, wonderful mix of people, ideas, religions, politics and philosophies. We are Cubs fans or Sox fans, and although the die-hards believe it's heretical, some of us are actually both. We had Obama signs and McCain signs all through our village last fall, and somehow we got along. (My favorite: the yards with both opposing signs!) We voted with the Civic Betterment party's candidate or for the alternative, Gary Fasules. Some watch Fox News; others listen to NPR. We might love Oprah or hate her, but we can't stop talking about her book selections. You might have gone to a Tea Party yesterday, or you mocked them with Jon Stewart. We carry your Bible Study books, but we also carry God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens. Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer has gay characters, and it's a beautiful love story I strongly recommend.

Here at The Bookstore we just love to handsell you books. We find out what you're interested in and show you some good books you might enjoy. You have opinions and we love you for it. You come as you are. If a certain subject isn't your cup of tea, that's fine, just tell us and we can go in another direction. We'll even smile, as we did last fall, when a customer slyly turned over an Obama children's book to hide the cover. It's okay, we get you. But we turned it back over when you left. And we'd do the same for any book.

Because at the smaller, smarter independent bookstore in the heart of your village, all books are created equal. Just like you.

(Okay, now cue the National Anthem!)


  1. Margie- if I didn't already live here and shop at The Bookstore I would want to after reading this!!

  2. Yay! Can I cut and paste this into my website?!! Thank you for saying all the things I think and want to say but can't put into words.
    Nice work.
    From another indie! Paperbacks and Pieces Bookstore


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