Author Topic: Barnes and Noble  (Read 1423 times)

kaysixteen

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2023, 11:13:02 PM »
Vetting is necessary.  Really, it is.   Whether it is a library, or a for-profit bookstore, those selecting the books do have a responsibility, ethically and morally, to prevent books that present wholesale quantities of factually inaccurate info from being proffered to the public.  Otherwise we might as well have that tome from Alex Jones on the shelf.

Hegemony

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2023, 02:23:53 AM »
Vetting is necessary.  Really, it is.   Whether it is a library, or a for-profit bookstore, those selecting the books do have a responsibility, ethically and morally, to prevent books that present wholesale quantities of factually inaccurate info from being proffered to the public.  Otherwise we might as well have that tome from Alex Jones on the shelf.

Kay16, it sounds as if you have a problem with capitalism.

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2023, 11:27:17 AM »
Vetting is necessary.  Really, it is.   Whether it is a library, or a for-profit bookstore, those selecting the books do have a responsibility, ethically and morally, to prevent books that present wholesale quantities of factually inaccurate info from being proffered to the public.  Otherwise we might as well have that tome from Alex Jones on the shelf.

Kay16, it sounds as if you have a problem with capitalism.

I think kay just wants to control us for our own good.
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Anselm

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2023, 11:40:27 AM »
I don't want my books vetted by people who spend their entire lives in Manhattan.  I remember lots of disinfo and trash in the bookstores in the 1970's like Seth Speaks by Jane Roberts, Dianetics and books about pyramid power. 
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kaysixteen

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2023, 10:56:39 PM »
Unfettered capitalism is as far removed from scripture as soviet communism was.

I am trying to figure out who would have a problem, really, with having an ethics policy which would suggest that bookstores should refuse to stock 'literature' that is chock-full of demonstrably false information, when vetted by the same standards that say, the Encyclopedia Britannica uses.   Certainly public libraries do have this obligation.

bacardiandlime

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2023, 03:04:07 AM »
I am trying to figure out who would have a problem, really, with having an ethics policy which would suggest that bookstores should refuse to stock 'literature' that is chock-full of demonstrably false information, when vetted by the same standards that say, the Encyclopedia Britannica uses.   Certainly public libraries do have this obligation.

I would have a huge problem with some apparatchik vetting what I'm allowed to read.

Public libraries carry Mein Kampf. They also have books abour vampires, ghosts and chupacabra.

apl68

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2023, 06:16:06 AM »
I am trying to figure out who would have a problem, really, with having an ethics policy which would suggest that bookstores should refuse to stock 'literature' that is chock-full of demonstrably false information, when vetted by the same standards that say, the Encyclopedia Britannica uses.   Certainly public libraries do have this obligation.

I would have a huge problem with some apparatchik vetting what I'm allowed to read.

Public libraries carry Mein Kampf. They also have books abour vampires, ghosts and chupacabra.

Well, I have to admit that our collection is kind of sparse on information about chupacabras (I can think of maybe four books here that mention them).  We've got a fair amount on ghosts, and a good bit of fiction with vampires, though.  What can I say?  We're a small library.  We can't have thorough coverage of everything.
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sonoamused

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #37 on: January 11, 2023, 09:43:52 AM »
So I went into the local B&N today, two towns over, in a much wealthier university town.   I do not go in there very often, and when I go, mostly it is to see what books I might like to get from the library, and take author info down.   I had perhaps thought that there might be some after Xmas sales today, but the amount of bargain books was actually quite minuscule.  And when I do go in, I only look through the shelves for book types/ genres I read in, which is less than half of what is even available.  Outside of two fiction genres, these are only non-fic ones.  Now it has been years since I have been impressed by the place-- as far back as ten years back a student at my old Christian school gave me a $5 gift cert there, and it took me at least 45 minutes to find something I felt like buying.   But today it dawned on me as I was looking through various sections, esp but not exclusively the 'current events' one, is anyone at B&N HQ actually reading these books before agreeing to have them put on their sales shelves?   Doing fact checks and other forms of vetting?  IOW, some of the astoundingly bad slopola here, mostly but not exclusively from a hard-right, Trumpanzee perspective, defies justification, or does B&N just put anything that they think they could sell on the shelves?  I recall one book, written by a Dave (?) Rubin, of whom I had never heard, a hard-right author who was, according to the book jacket blurb, , blathering on about the hideousness of woke progressivism (all the weirder from a gay man who is living in Los Angeles with his husband, something Trump and Co probably would not be eager to facilitate), and said blurb notes that he has a highly rated Youtube podcast.   So why is it that anyone would trust the insights of a guy with a Youtube podcast?  But, of course, many of the non-fic books sold there demonstrate the reality that many Americans do not read well, lack critical thinking skills as well as a solid knowledge basis, so perhaps this is not so surprising.  Still, am I wrong to suggest that B&N ought to exercise at least some responsibilty not to put alternative facts insanity up for sale?

No, if you want a curated selection of books, you go to a library.  If you want a selection of books based on what people are currently reading based on a large scale book jobber you go to a chain bookstore.     Granted the selection will change a little by area since each bookstore will do some large scale returns so they eventually only have "x" number of copies on their shelf of a given title at a time, so in a given area if (x) author doesn't sell, they may only have 1 copy of a title there.

But publishing has always been if you get an idea out there, someone will sell it.

AmLitHist

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #38 on: January 11, 2023, 12:13:14 PM »
Unfettered capitalism is as far removed from scripture as soviet communism was.

I am trying to figure out who would have a problem, really, with having an ethics policy which would suggest that bookstores should refuse to stock 'literature' that is chock-full of demonstrably false information, when vetted by the same standards that say, the Encyclopedia Britannica uses.   Certainly public libraries do have this obligation.

So, trying to follow your logic: where does that leave the Bible? Where can I find demonstrable truth that an inexplicable power created everything from nothing--and in six days?  Where is there demonstrable truth that one man resuscitated another man who had been dead in the grave for days?  Where is the demonstrable truth that a man killed by crucifixion lived again in the flesh--or that Saul had the Damascus road experience exactly as recorded--or any number of other bit s of "literature" contained in the Bible?

Yes, I'm being a smartass, but I'm also asking a serious question.  Who gets to decide what gets a pass just because someone (the bookstore, the librarian, the individual, the community) believes they have the corner on capital-T "Truth," as opposed to what doesn't pass that test? 

I can be responsible for making the choices of what I will and won't read (and believe). My problem arises when someone else presumes to make those choices for me, effectively removing my ability to make my own choice.

Of course, the issue of what bookstores carry is (should be/must be) driven by economics/capitalism--just as they can't/don't have to have everything available for me, I'm equally free to shop/not shop there.  The issue gets more theoretical and muddier for me when we talk about libraries, and not just the "we can't afford to buy everything" aspect, but more specifically, "we have to protect you/your kids/the community" tone of it.

kaysixteen

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2023, 09:32:58 PM »
I do see your smartass argument wrt the unscientific religious teachings in the Bible.  But the Bible, and other religious/ spiritual books, are not what  am talking about here, and you know this.

What I am talking about is books like those propaganda pieces put out by the likes of cretinous louts such as Alex Jones and Glenn Beck.   Amongst others.   Take COVID denialism and quack medical teachings, for instance, which killed thousands unnecessarily.   I am no libertarian capitalist, to think that caveat emptor should rule here, and I will not apologize for saying that the Barnes and Nobles of the world should vet crap like this before they expose it to the public.

ergative

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #40 on: January 21, 2023, 04:13:03 AM »
I do see your smartass argument wrt the unscientific religious teachings in the Bible.  But the Bible, and other religious/ spiritual books, are not what  am talking about here, and you know this.

What I am talking about is books like those propaganda pieces put out by the likes of cretinous louts such as Alex Jones and Glenn Beck.   Amongst others.   Take COVID denialism and quack medical teachings, for instance, which killed thousands unnecessarily.   I am no libertarian capitalist, to think that caveat emptor should rule here, and I will not apologize for saying that the Barnes and Nobles of the world should vet crap like this before they expose it to the public.

This is rather why we need lots of independent bookstores. It's the job of the bookshop to determine which portion of the buying market they want to cater to, and which portion they want to exclude. Bookshops that prominently feature Alex Jones and Glenn Beck titles will not get my business, but will get other people's business. Bookstores that prominently feature titles by Henry Louis Gates Jr and Alison Bechdel will get the inverse set of patrons. Rather than trying to enforce some degree of literary taste or moral truth or however you want to frame it on one massive institution like B&N, we need to support a multiplicity of smaller institutions so that people can go where they can find what they want.

Then you don't need to see people you disagree with, and so you don't feel the need to mandate what they're allowed to read.

kaysixteen

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #41 on: January 21, 2023, 11:53:41 PM »
Up to a point this is true, but only up to a point.... are there no works of 'fact' that are so dangerously and objectively false such as to mean that they should not be purveyed, and those doing so should be censured?

ergative

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Re: Barnes and Noble
« Reply #42 on: January 22, 2023, 05:51:31 AM »
Up to a point this is true, but only up to a point.... are there no works of 'fact' that are so dangerously and objectively false such as to mean that they should not be purveyed, and those doing so should be censured?

In principle, sure. The problem is that not everyone shares my principles. If we've seen anything with covid, it's that no matter how dangerously and objectively false something is, there will be a substantial portion of the population and government that think it's just dandy.

In practice, there is no good way way to define where that line is, and so it will just become another football in the political censorship culture wars. Oddly, I think that Twitter adding its automatic cautionary warnings to misinformation about covid and election fraud claims was quite a good compromise: don't censor the speech, but stick a big ol' asterisk on it. But Twitter is a private company. For public commerce, you'd need some public organization running the asterisking system, so in the end, which claims get flagged is going to turn into a political culture war too.

Of course, private demonstrations of censure are a different matter. If you have the time and effort to protest the existence of the Glenn Beck (TM) Opinion Bookshop, then God be with you. But that's probably not going to have much effect, because the people who like such shops are going to dismiss you as a woke snowflake. And it may well backfire, but drawing the attention of people who'd never heard of it before (the Streisand effect).