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Update on My Barnes & Noble “Issue”

February 6, 2007

A few days ago I blogged about how my local Barnes & Noble store had placed their erotica anthologies within clear view of the children’s section entrance and debated whether I would call the manager about it.

Well, I did. And she dismissed my concerns with the excuse that they have to be there because that’s where the computer says they belong. And, of course, she also gave me the “we’ve never had a problem/complaint before” excuse too.

Well, that whole conversation just made me cranky. So I wrote a letter to B&N corporate with CCs to our local media (1 newspaper, 2 television stations) and posted it yesterday. Here it is, for your reading enjoyment:

Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Customer Service Department
122 Fifth Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10011

To whom it may concern:

I am a frequent customer at your [location] store. In fact, I often visit there with my two children (ages 4 and 12).

Last night while browsing in the store, I was alarmed to notice a large selection of erotica anthologies placed on the main aisle, approximately 10-15 feet away from the entrance to the children’s section of the store. The books were on the second shelf from the top, right at eye level for most children ages 8 or older (photo enclosed). Since they were placed on the main aisle and in such close proximity to the children’s section, there can be little doubt that hundreds of children pass by them. It is not difficult to imagine that a curious child would notice the word “EROTICA” or the titillating photographs emblazoned across the spines of these books, then pick up one and start reading it. Worse yet, any pedophile could pick up these books, read them, then head into the partially enclosed children’s section to conduct lewd or criminal acts.

I called the store today and inquired about the placement of the books. Speaking with Frances, the assistant manager, and then Wanda, the general manager, I was told that the books were supposed to be there and that they would not be moved. Wanda repeatedly told me that the store would not censor its merchandise and I repeatedly stated that I was not asking her to stop selling the books, merely place them in a spot that was not accessible to children. As I pointed out to both Frances and Wanda, pornographic magazines like Playboy are placed in locations where they are obscured from the view of children and are often sold in sealed plastic bags. The erotica anthologies differ from those magazines only in that they do not include pictures.

I was dismayed by the store personnel’s unwillingness to be responsible about where they place adult material. If this is indeed corporate policy to place erotic literature so close to the children’s section of the store and within reach of school age children, I must conclude that Barnes & Noble is not family-friendly and does not want my family’s business.

Sincerely,
(Multitasking Mama)

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2 comments

  1. […] Janie wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptA few days ago I blogged about how my local Barnes & Noble store had placed their erotica anthologies within clear view of the children’s section entrance and debated whether I would call the manager about it. Well, I did. … […]


  2. […] May 8th, 2007 · No Comments I refuse to give B&N any more of my money after discovering that they place erotica anthologies in plain view (not to mention within easy reach) of children.  I called them on that and received first a lame response, then no response. […]



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