Retail giant eBay is censoring the resale of six Dr. Seuss books deemed “offensive” after the publisher announced the books will no longer be published.
Random House Books for Young Readers pulled “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!” “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer” because the “books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
“eBay is currently sweeping our marketplace to remove these items,” a spokeswoman for the company told The Wall Street Journal.
“Dr. Seuss Enterprises has stopped publication of this book due to its negative portrayal of some ethnicities,” she added. “As a courtesy, we have ended your item and refunded your selling fees, and as long as you do not relist the item, there will be no negative impact to your account.”
Books written by some of history’s most notorious and cruel dictators are still listed, however. As of Sunday evening, murderous dictator Adolf Hitler’s memoir, Mein Kampf, is still listed for sale. Communist China’s Mao Tse-Tung’s “Little Red Book” is also still listed for sale.
The spokeswoman added that the site is “constantly” evaluating its listed content.
“[M]illions of transactions happening every day on our platform across more than 190 markets, we are constantly evaluating and making improvements to ensure prohibited items remain off eBay,” the spokeswoman said.
Barnes & Noble Chief Executive James Daunt expressed his support for the well-known Dr. Seuss books. “I speak from a position of ignorance in terms of how insensitive the withdrawn titles were, but the core Dr. Seuss titles are enduring classics of children’s literature,” he said. “Barnes & Noble will continue to sell them.”
Some booksellers say they will not remove any Dr. Seuss books from the shelves. “We have several shelves of Dr. Seuss books, and have no plans to remove them,” Cass Moskowitz, the assistant manager of Books of Wonder in New York City, said. “If the depictions aren’t great, sometimes things have to be retired for a reason,” she said. “We learn and grow as a society.”
Lori Fazio, chief operating officer of R.J. Julia Booksellers, a Madison, Wisconsin bookstore, concurred, adding, “We understand the issues out there but we will have the books in stock. We have no plans to drop any titles.”
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