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Sunday, April 19, 2015

What To Do With Bad Books?



We all can agree we want books to achieve something good in this world.  They open us to new ideas, share values, educate us, inspire and motivate, challenge the establishment, honor history, and impact us so positively.  But what do we do with bad books?

What do we do with books that:

·         Bastardize our language or violate the rules of grammar?
·         Intentionally print lies?
·         Are riddled with errors?
·         Call for violence?
·         Preach hate or ignorance?
·         Discourage people from growing and seeing their dreams?
·         Misinterpret facts and data?
·         Hype or distort the truth?
·         Are boring and fail to keep our interest?

An easy answer is that one would speak out against a wrong or shun the things he or she dislikes.  Others would say you do nothing and go about making good reading choices for yourself while making recommendations to others on books to read or avoid.  Or, should something else be done?  Could anything else be done?

Would you enact or enforce laws that call for censorship, book bans or require an authorization to publish?

Would you stage loud protests and aggressive boycotts?

Would you move towards violence against the writer or publishers?

The thing is, you could make allowances, excuses, and exceptions for any book.  For instance, a book that’s filled with errors still may hold something useful in it, something that makes it greater than its weak points.  Even a book that preaches violence may be deemed acceptable if it shows a historical perspective or it rails against a corrupt government that needs to be overthrown.  No one wants to endorse the diary or memoir of a racist or sexist, but we know that free speech demands society allows for everyone to write what they want. But free speech also permits – and even demands -- that we counter such books and seek to correct the record.

Or should we just shortcut all of this and find a way to ward off the publication of useless, crappy, annoying, poorly-written, hate-filled diatribes?   Should we form a panel of qualified experts and let them decide what’s publishing-worthy?  Do we let the majority rule what we publish or read?  Is it up to the librarians, bookstores, Amazon, and other middlemen to act as quality-control gatekeepers?

We can only let democracy take care of this.  All ideas deserve to be circulated, even ones calling for your demise, but the hope is that an educated, loving and free society has the ability to put garbage in its place.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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