NPD Bookscan has tracked sales of books that have been challenged recently by school library boards, parents groups, and others, reports Andrew AlbanesePublishers Weekly senior writer.

Not surprisingly, NPD’s Kristen McLean found that coverage of bans against specific titles – such as Maus, Antiracist Baby, and Gender Queer – has spurred significant sales increases for these books.

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Gender Queer by Maia Kolbabe experienced significant sales growth in May. So, too, did All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, and Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi, after Texas Senator Ted Cruz criticized it during a Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

“McLean makes a very, very good point: books that get this coverage and are cited as the focus of these bans may sell more, but all the other hundreds that are also banned but not getting shouted out do not do better,” Albanese notes.

“It would also be interesting to see the effect of the bans on those titles, because I’m sure its negative, owing to ‘soft censorship,” he tells me. “That’s when a librarian or a teacher chooses not to order a book because they think, ‘I’ll get in trouble with my board.’”

Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's Velocity of Content podcast series, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Senior Director, Marketing, he is responsible for organizing and hosting programs that address the business needs of all stakeholders in publishing and research. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Independent (London), WBUR-FM, NPR, and WGBH-TV.
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