Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Take That You Vampire Lovers

Last night at the bookstore a customer asked me for New Moon, the second book in the much-loved, not-so-critically-acclaimed Twilight series. Those books are a phenomena. We went to the shelf and found nothing. Maybe in the teen section? No not there either. So I went to the computer to look it up, and found that their status with the store has been demoted to special order only. Sharp intake of breathe, “What the…Corporate pulled the Twilight series!”

That’s right, Twilight has gone IA. Inventory Action. All of my friends who have worked at the store know just what that means. For the rest of you, I will explain. There’s a dark cave below the basement of the corporate offices in which are stored thousands of books that have been deemed material inappropriate for our stores' shelves. Men and women with discerning but incorruptible minds have read these books (they have to be incorruptible in order to resist the influence of trash) and stamped a big “NO” on them. The books are then shelved in a place where they will never again see the light of day. Well, not that particular copy anyway. You can find other copies at any other bookstore, and most of us do just that.

Maybe I should clarify that the screeners aren’t judging a book on quality but rather content – like language and smut. If the movie version would get a PG-13 rating, then it might be hard to find the book on our shelves.

Pulling a book, or series of books, or everything from a particular author, has caused real outrage within the store's staff over the years. A lot of my coworkers have read those books and really liked them. I’ve heard more “WHO DO THOSE PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE THEY CAN’T TELL US WHAT TO READ!” fury over the years than you can imagine. No one likes to be told that some of their favorites are in league with the devil. But in the end what is a person to do? Go to Barnes and Noble. It’s right across the street.

Harry Potter was on the chopping block at one time, but was saved by the decision to class them as regular fiction rather than middle readers. Twilight was moved from “Teen” to the regular fiction shelves after the fourth and most controversial book was released. Apparently that wasn’t enough to save it from the dark, damp cave – purposely damp to insure quick deterioration. It seems though that I work with a very different group of people now than I did in years past, because last night we talked about it and none of them were surprised. Some said that they wondered why it hadn’t happened a long time ago, and understood why the series is gone. Huh. Try as I might, I couldn’t get anyone riled up into a good rant. Kind of disappointing.

I guess that my own opinion is somewhere in the middle. I am surprised that it’s gone because the series is written by an LDS author, and because it really sells. Why not keep a series that makes money? And I wonder how Stephanie Meyer feels about us banning her. But, at the same time, I don’t know that I really care. Whatever. I’m not offended. I love my job and that store with or without the vampire books. And like I say, Barnes and Noble is just right across the street.


Tiffany said...

Scandalous! Books by Mormons banned by Mormons. I would have gladly joined in a rant with you, given the chance. It's amazing, really.

Love the description of the cave. They never let me go down there, and I've been dying to know what it looks like!

Melissa said...

I will also rant for you. I can maybe see why Eclipse would be but New Moon, what the heck is in there that they don't like? My problem with that whole system has been that one ridiculous customer can get almost any book pulled. I hope that rant helped you reminisce a little :)

Kelli said...

Ha-Ha! Inventory Action! The scandal! So funny! That is hilarious. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.