Bookstores to Host Banned Books Week Events on Same Night

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Bookstores in seven cities will hold events on the same night during this year’s celebration of Banned Books Week (September 25–October 1) to highlight challenges to books written by authors of diverse backgrounds.

The bookstore events will be held on the evening of September 27 by The Book Cellar (Chicago), Books & Books (Miami), Housing Works Bookstore (New York), Politics & Prose Bookstore (Washington, D.C.), Powell’s Books (Portland, Oregon), Skylight Books (Los Angeles), and Tattered Cover Book Store (Denver). The event format will differ from store to store. Most stores are planning to host readings from challenged works; others will feature author talks and panel discussions.

Banned Books Week, which each year celebrates a different category of banned and challenged titles, will focus in 2016 on books by diverse writers and explore why their books are disproportionately singled out for attack. The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom estimates that more than half of banned and challenged works are written by authors of color, members of the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.

Four of the 10 books challenged most frequently in 2015 are diverse books: I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings (Dial Books), Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin (Candlewick Press), Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (Mariner), and Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (Knopf Books for Young Readers).

To help bookstores participate in Banned Books Week, the American Booksellers Association will distribute a promotional kit in the August Red Box. The kit will be sent to the most active IndieBound stores; stores participating in the Ingram Banned Books Week ordering program; stores that received the kit last year; and, while supplies last, stores that request the kit by e-mailing abfe@bookweb.org.

The Banned Books Week kit was created by American Booksellers for Free Expression and the Ingram Content Group in 2013 for stores that placed an order from a list of more than 450 banned and challenged titles on ipage®, Ingram’s search and order content platform.

In 2016, Ingram will again offer an additional discount on initial orders of 25 or more books on the list, as well as on subsequent orders placed from August 31 to October 5. While supplies last, booksellers placing qualifying orders will receive a free 13" x 39" Banned Books Week banner, which is being distributed exclusively by Ingram and will be mailed in a protective tube.

ABA members ordering from Ingram will receive the Banned Books Week kit from ABA either by direct mail or in the August Red Box. For more information about the Ingram program or to place an order, stores should contact their Ingram sales representative; call Ingram Customer Care at (800) 937-8200; or e-mail orders@ingrambook.com.

The kit includes 25 feet of “caution” tape; 100 bookmarks for consumer giveaways, featuring four of the most frequently challenged books in 2015; “I Read Banned Books” stickers; an easel-back display; and a pamphlet produced by the American Library Association that describes the titles banned and challenged in 2015–2016.

There will also be a new piece in this year’s kit. In a survey conducted after last year’s Banned Books Week celebrations, booksellers said they wanted a flier featuring a list of titles and the reasons they were challenged that they can give to customers. Penguin Random House has agreed to produce this year’s flier, which is in addition to the strong support that it provides for Banned Books Week every year. Fifty fliers will be included in the kit.

Many of the stores that participated in Banned Books Week last year sent ABA photos of the colorful displays they mounted using the promotional kit. They can be viewed here. The two sides of this year’s Banned Books Week bookmark can be seen at right.