"Banned Book" Sections Coming to Select Barnes & Noble Bookstores

In response to recent controversy surrounding texts deemed “inappropriate” and containing “obscene material” being banned from school districts and public libraries, Barnes & Noble will be implementing a “banned book” section in some of their stores.

One hundred and eighty-six books are listed in the section on the Barnes & Noble website, including “Lord of the Flies,” “The Great Gatsby,” and “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction.” Some stores are even dedicating small sections to these titles, taking an obvious stance against their opposition.

Controversy began swirling around titles such as the ones listed above after they were pulled from shelves in Florida’s Polk County school libraries in January. In total, sixteen books were removed by the district after a local group determined they weren’t acceptable for the every-day reader, primarily young children in schools.

Barnes & Noble explains on their website that literary works are usually banned on “moral, religious or political grounds.” For these titles, “They were believed to be obscene or too controversial to be read by society.” Barnes & Noble went on to say that “Books that explore race, sexuality and new concepts and ideas are still often prohibited by certain communities, although they can easily be purchased in most bookstores.”

The company is making it clear that the expectation isn’t for all of its stores to implement the banned book section, as a company spokesperson for the company told Nexstar that each Barnes & Noble store can take it upon themselves to decide how to display the books.

“We do not direct how choices are made and our displays are constantly changing. Which individual titles are included in any display is chosen by the booksellers in a store. We do not know how many stores have chosen to make a display of banned books. Given the wide discussion of the banning of books, it is probably one that is popular in bookstores everywhere, including those of Barnes & Noble. We also have a page on BN.com devoted to banned books which shows the bestsellers amongst them,” the spokesperson clarified.

The top banned and challenged books, according to Barnes & Noble, are as follows:

  • “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury
  • “Maus” by Art Spiegelman
  • “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
  • “1984” by George Orwell
  • “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding
  • “Animal Farm” by George Orwell
  • “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck
  • “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
  • “Stamped from the Beginning” by Ibram X. Kendi
  • “The 1619 Project” by Nikole Hannah-Jones
  • “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut

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