Thursday, September 20, 2007

Books "they" want us to buy

I envy the staff that buys our fiction books. Her purchasing criteria are whether the book is wanted or not wanted; whether it is a best seller or not a best seller. Sure, she may haggle over the quality of a title, but in the end, there can be no question that if our public wants something, it's a good thing for us to buy. I don't have it so easy. I buy non-fiction. The classification itself suggests some level of truth, a characteristic that isn't so easy to establish. For example, there are a collection of books out there promoted by a late night infomercial huckster. He suggests that "they" don't want you to have the information in his books. A little research reveals that this author has an extensive criminal history involving fraud. In fact, the first edition of his book, which we own, was primarily an advertisement for his website where even more information "they" don't want you to have can be gotten, at an additional price of course. When the request from patrons came poring in for this title, I couldn't help but feel like an accessory after the fact for this schmuck. In another case, a few years back, a semi-famous historian was found to be a holocaust denier in a British civil suit. Some of his books were cited as having inaccurate or misleading information in them that contributed to the idea that the horror of the holocaust is vastly overstated and more-over that Hitler didn't know it was happening. Lo and behold, we own one of those titles. Do I remove it from our collection? What about all the other stuff we own in "non-fiction" that is also misleading or just plain wrong? I can't find it all. I wonder if they have this problem in the kid's department.

Stephen Bertrand
Assistant Director


Blogger Jeff Scott said...

Glad you didn't mention the book that:

shall not be named,

that was recently reviewed by Library Journal

had a controversial Oprah appearance

and that I just received a request for purchase slip (which made me cringe)

At least the kids stuff is accurate. Most of the time, since it is aimed at children, truth and a non-biased opinion is emphasized.

September 22, 2007 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Mitchell said...

WebMD chose to expose the books 'they don't want you to know about' in a recent article.

October 18, 2007 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the books that tone down the Holocaust should be moved to non-fiction.

October 20, 2007 8:25 AM  

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