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The Dwindling Sales of Dr. Seuss

So a problem that actively arises from trying to remove oneself from the zeitgeist of the "online world" is that I don't get every side of the story. It will, more often than not, be snippets of information gained from browsing everyday life. I am far more inclined to spend my time listening to philosophy or history podcasts - an empty house is less empty when you can hear others voices in the background, afterall.

A couple days ago I wrote in my blog about the recent happenings surrounding several of Dr. Seuss' childrens books and their removal from publication. Some have been calling this a "banning", "cancellation" and "cancel culture" - and as someone who grew up in the era of Harry Potter, it doesn't seem like anything really new. After all, I've got books that talk about cancelling books on my bookshelf.

However, on Facebook - yes - Facebook, that place I want only for family photos and cute cat memes - my older brother posted a response to someone's post that had me travelling down a rabbit hole.

That's always how it goes, isn't it...

My brother's comment was along the lines of how Dr. Seuss' books weren't cancelled and it wasn't really an issue because they were actually stopping production of the books due to low sales. It was the free market at work.

And I thought - okay - fair enough point brother - fair enough point. I'll go look into that.

Now I don't have access to BookScan, so I can't get the correct numbers - but I found one article reporting on the publication numbers:

“And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” one of the six books pulled by the estate, sold about 5,000 copies last year, according to BookScan. “McElligot’s Pool” and “The Cat’s Quizzer” haven’t sold in years through the retailers BookScan tracks. Putting the merits of the books aside, removing “Green Eggs and Ham” would be a completely different business proposition from doing away with new printings of “McElligot’s Pool.”

Books go out of print all the time. I am often left immensely frustrated by the fact that I cannot purchase old sci-fi books because they're no longer in print. A constant reminder why second hand bookshops are treasure troves of glory and wonder - a reminder to myself to go a visit my local one again. ^_^;

If Dr. Seuss' books weren't selling - as the numbers indicated - then okay, easily solved problem, no one would have noticed their gradual and slow removal from the bookstores as they faded into obscurity and memory.

So why then did "they" - they being the Dr Seuss Enterprises - loudly proclaim, standing aloft a great mountain, that the reason they were pulling the books was "due to their racist and insensitive portrayal of people of color."

If we - socially - were doing away with these books by a means of simply not buying them - then I'm curious as to why the Dr Seuss Enterprises didn't just cut them with no fanfare. No one would have noticed and if they did notice, just shrug and tell everyone that we've all obviously moved on as a collective - no longer seeing it necessary to buy these books - and have a nice day.

But that wasn't how it was reported... It was like watching some sort of tug-a-war being played, reading articles that - to be honest - just left me feeling more confused than when I fell down the rabbit hole.

As I have often indicated in several posts - the publishing industry has this sort of drive for diversity and inclusion (and that isn't a bad thing in-of-itself, it's just its main drive) - it is very much run by intersectionality - and America is especially focused a lot on it. Not being an American, I don't fully grasp, nor understand, the Culture of America.

Therefore, I suppose in the end, I am not really that surprised by what has befallen the Dr. Seuss Books and how the media chose to tell the tale. I would have preferred that more articles reported more fully on the dwindling of sales - as that's really interesting (to me anyway) - but in our current World climate, should I have expected anything else?

I do not know.

I really do not know. ^_^;

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