Bookstores to Join Internet Read-Out of Banned Books

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Booksellers and their customers can proclaim their support for free speech by joining a worldwide read-out of banned and challenged books on the Internet during this year’s Banned Books Week, from September 24 - October 1. People can participate in the read-out no matter where they are — in bookstores, libraries, and their own homes — by posting a video of themselves reading their favorite banned book on a special YouTube channel.

“We are very excited that booksellers will be able to offer their customers the opportunity to share their favorite banned books with fellow readers from around the world via the Net,” said Chris Finan, president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE).

Readers can select any banned or challenged book, and excerpts can be up to two minutes in length. Alternatively, people who have worked to defend banned or challenged titles can describe their battles in videos of up to three minutes in length.

ABFFE is encouraging booksellers to film their customers as part of their BBW celebrations. ABFFE will provide instructions on how to easily create the videos, and beginning in early September, booksellers can send the videos to ABFFE, which will edit them, add the names and logos of the bookstores where the filming occurred, and then post them on YouTube. The videos will also be tagged to make it easy for bookstores to feature them on their websites, blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. For further information, e-mail [email protected]. See an example below of a reading from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games at Boulevard Bookstore and Cafe in Brooklyn, New York.

As in years past, ABFFE has made it easy and inexpensive for booksellers to participate in Banned Books Week by providing a Banned Books Week Handbook on The handbook describes a variety of promotional activities, including the creation of simple displays. It also features posters that can be downloaded and reproduced at a local copy shop for a nominal fee.

For a limited time, ABFFE is also discounting its popular Freadom products. The Freadom T-shirt is available in four colors — black, royal blue, charcoal gray and forest green — for $15 ($10 for orders of 12 or more). Imprinting is available for $1 per shirt.

There are also Freadom buttons, bumper stickers, and bookmarks. Small Freadom buttons are sold in mixed-color bags of 100 ($35). An order of 100 bookmarks costs just $5. (Download an order form here.)

The American Library Association also provides Banned Books Week promotional material through its website.

Booksellers can promote their Banned Books Week activities on a website created by ABFFE and ALA, In addition to providing general information, the site features a state-by-state list of participating bookstores and libraries. Further information is available by e-mailing [email protected] or calling Amy Long, (212) 587-4025, ext. 5.