About six weeks ago, I wrote about an idea that I gave to the American Booksellers Association for a collaborative forum where indie bookstores could share ideas for book displays. The ABA bounced it back into my lap (good job on the delegation there, Sydney Jarrard!) and so I went ahead and ran with it. I made a couple of Pinterest boards and wrote a blog post, and then asked Sydney to do a bit of publicizing.
I started with two boards: Effective Bookstore Displays and Creative Bookstore Windows. I seeded each board with a few pictures from my store and went looking for help. After all, it’s not a collaboration unless there’s more than one participant! I ended the article with the line, “There are a few of my pictures to get the ball rolling. Let’s see how many more we can get on here in the next month. Challenge issued. Challenge accepted?” It certainly was.
Sydney included something in the ABA member newsletter, Bookselling This Week, and booksellers started showing up. Then it was picked up by Shelf Awareness, and just a few days ago the Christian Science Monitor ran an article. Now, each of the boards has almost 300 followers, and pictures are being placed by a half-dozen collaborators. I’m absolutely thrilled with the progress! Now, it seems like time for a bit of an expansion.
I’ve now added a third board to the collection: Book Banning & Censorship. Being both an author and a bookseller, I’m not a fan of censorship. I’ve written about it, spoken about it, made infographics about it, and now started a Pinterest board about it. So far, it only has 87 followers and a dozen pins. Here’s your new challenge: let’s see if we can have 500 followers and 200 pins on the censorship board by Banned Books Week (Sept 21-27, 2014). This one transcends the bookselling world, so I’m going to try to get librarians and authors to jump in and participate.
Become a part of the process!
To join in the process, visit the board(s) you are interested in and follow them. Then leave a comment here on this blog post using the same name you used on Pinterest. I’ll authorize you to pin, and you can start adding pictures from your own store.
I’m not a big fan of rules, but I’d like everyone to please do two things:
- Focus on ideas that everyone can use, instead of display products that you’d like them to buy.
- Try to put each picture on the most appropriate board only — let’s not get the same picture on all three boards, or get window pics on the display board.
Thank you! You do not have to be a member of the ABA to participate, but why on Earth would you have an indie bookstore and not want to join? They provide an awful lot of benefits for a very reasonable level of annual dues.
It’s a two way street! There are a lot of good ideas out there, and we want to get as many people participating as we possibly can.
Graphic blogs are all the rage these days, but I’ve never tried doing one. I’m not really much of an artist. I was, however, a computer science major back in the days when we flowcharted our programs before we started coding them. I can do flowcharts. So, in the wake of controversy over an attempt to ban Sherman Alexie’s book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, I decided to do my first graphical blog post.
Here you go:
If the subject of book bannings and censorship interests you, then you might want to take a look at another of my posts: A few myths about banned books. I’ve spoken about this subject before to a variety of groups, including the Red Lodge Forum for Provocative Issues.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution seems very straightforward when it says “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” That means in this country, we won’t be subjected to things like the book burnings of Hitler’s Germany or the death sentence imposed on Salman Rushdie (author of The Satanic Verses) in a fatwa by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Censorship and book banning is not so straightforward, however.
On June 11, I will be talking at the Red Lodge, Montana Forum for Provocative Issues about the ethics, morality, legality, and reality of book banning in the United States. I’ve been compiling real-world examples, and I’d love to get additional examples and feedback from my readers about the subject as I prepare for this talk. The subjects I’ll be covering include:
- What types of books the Federal Government can actually ban
- What other government entities can and cannot ban books
- Book burning in the United States (more recently than you think!)
- Books that have been banned or challenged in Montana
- How book banning affects authors and publishers
- The process of banning a book
- Banned Book Week and the ALA/ABA fight for the freedom to read
I will bring backup materials for attendees to peruse after the talk, including lists of banned and challenged books.