A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction blocking HB 900, the controversial “book rating” law from taking effect in Texas.

In court seeking to block the law, two Texas bookstores (Austin’s BookPeople and Houston’s Blue Willow Bookshop) together with the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund had argued that HB 900 represents an unconstitutional restraint on the freedom to read, and an untenable burden on booksellers, according to Andrew AlbanesePublisher Weekly executive editor.

“There was some urgency because the law was set to take effect on September 1,” he tells me.

What the court has ruled remains unclear because a written opinion and order have not yet been published.

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“On August 31, there was very short status conference at which Judge Alan D. Albright told the parties he was denying the state’s bid to dismiss the lawsuit and would be issuing a preliminary injunction blocking the law in its entirety—and this is a key phrase—from taking effect,” Albanese reports.

“The conference was over in about 7 minutes—the plaintiffs and freedom to read advocates were thrilled, the state has vowed to appeal—but everything has been tempered by the fact that we are still awaiting a written opinion and order, which could come at any minute. But for now, the headline is that the controversial book rating law in Texas is blocked.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Velocity of Content” features the editors and reporters of Publishers Weekly for an early look at what news publishers, editors, authors, agents, and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.


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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