ABFE Presents Selling Controversial Books: A Conversation

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Friday, June 2, 2017 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EDT

Booksellers are periodically faced with difficult decisions about how to handle the sale of controversial books. American Psycho, Satanic Verses, and the Harry Potter books were the targets of boycotts and other protests. Milo Yiannopoulos’ book, Dangerous, is the latest example. What should booksellers do when a customer complains about a title?  How should they handle an inventory selection that they find personally offensive? Should they display it, stock it but not display it, special order it, or refuse to sell it altogether? And what are the consequences of pressuring a publisher to cancel a controversial title? Join four prominent booksellers in discussing the different ways they answer these questions. The program is sponsored by American Booksellers for Free Expression.  

Moderator: Michael A. Bamberger, general counsel, Media Coalition

Panelists: Lissa Muscatine, co-owner, Politics and Prose, Washington, DC; Mitchell Kaplan, owner, Books & Books, Miami; Monica Odom, events coordinator, Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J; Vanessa Martini, associate buyer, City Lights Books, San Francisco

About ABA

The American Booksellers Association, a national not-for-profit trade organization, works with booksellers and industry partners to ensure the success and profitability of independently owned book retailers, and to assist in expanding the community of the book.

Independent bookstores act as community anchors; they serve a unique role in promoting the open exchange of ideas, enriching the cultural life of communities, and creating economically vibrant neighborhoods.



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