Tag: barnes and noble

A Diversity How To

Barnes & Nobel was caught in a controversy about a week ago. To try and honor Black History Month, the company commissioned artists to redesign classic novel covers, like The Wizard of Oz, Frankenstein, The Secret Garden, Peter Pan etc. The company was quick to dole out apologies but the damage was done. They canceled the release of the covers and we are left with the mountains of tweets of people and authors of color trying make sense of what they did. Authors like Roxane Gay, Angie Thomas, David Bowles added to the conversation.

 

Image via The New York Times

 

All of this brings up ideas of diversity. How to do it successfully and how not to. An even bigger example than the Barnes & Nobel’s catastrophe is M. Night Shyamalan’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. I know what you are thinking, this movie, based on the very popular show and graphic novel series, literally came out ten years ago, why does it matter? One, because it deals with the subject of diversity and is a prime example of how not to do it but also because I want to gush about the original series because it was just that good. Good? Good.

So the adaptation of the Nickelodeon series was highly anticipated but it was helmed by Shyamalan, who has always had an interesting career and let’s leave it at that. Most fans and non-fans alike can agree that the movie was horrible for many many reasons. But I will be focusing on the story elements and characters, not the film making itself.

If you don’t know the original series, Avatar: The Last Airbender was about a young kid named Aang who is the Avatar, an individual who can wield all four elements. He’s the last air nomad because of a huge war the Fire Nation who started to wipe out all of the other benders and take over the world. Aang travels with Katara and Saka, a brother and sister duo from the southern water tribe. As Katara and Saka are brown skinned and the people from both the southern and northern water tribes are vaguely what we would consider native american today. They are brown, remember that for later. See below for reference.

 

Image via Variety 

 

Throughout the show, the three travel to different parts of the world so that Aang can master the other elements, water, earth, and fire. Opposing Aang are the fire nation. Leading the expedition for his capture are Zuko, the prince of the fire nation, his uncle, and eventually his sister Azula. The show is very diverse but it is clearly shown that the fire nation characters look Japanese. See below for reference (Zuko and his father, the Fire Lord).

 

Image via Avatar Wiki-Fandom

I don’t know who was behind the casting of the movie but that was one of my biggest problems with it. Aang was fine, he looked vaguely asian in the show and they cast a light skinned actor to play him. But they cast white actors to play Katara and Sokka and Indian and dark skinned actors for Zuko, Iroh, and basically the entire fire nation.  Do you see what I am getting at?

The villains of the show, that were light skinned, were turned dark while the heroes lost all of their color. They switched the races of the characters just like Barnes and Noble did. Changing the skin color of a character isn’t adding diversity. You are just making them diverse to be palatable to people of color.

The movie doubles down on the stereotype of making the brown or black characters evil while the light skinned folks are the heroes that stopped the terrible villains. The Fire Nation and it’s leader Fire Lord Ozai, did horrible things to the rest of the world. They wiped out every air bender, except for Aang, and tried to do the same to the water benders, putting earth benders into slavery. All of a sudden the dark skinned Indian people are doing all of this? It’s reaffirming the notion that people of color are to be feared and the light skinned characters get to run in and save the day.

The water tribes were a peaceful, seafaring people who left everyone alone because they were literally on opposite ends of the earth. They did nothing to the fire tribe except exist, yet the fire tribe attacked, which not-so-subtly refers to how Europeans traveled over the world and conquered folks of color.

 

 

While watching the movie, I was stunned. I first asked “Did no one watch the show?” Because watching the movie it seemed like someone had just given the director and the writers spark notes and they were good to go. My second question was “How does Shyamalan, as a person of color, feel about this?” There were, of course, many interviews during the press tour for the movie but one of the most famous was one in which he essentially stated that American audiences don’t get him and how he and his films have a European aspect.

Out of all the articles and his defense of the film, he doesn’t go into this side of things. How he doesn’t see the implications of the race switching confuses me. Wouldn’t he want to see dark skinned folks being the heroes in a huge fantasy setting? Or maybe he just saw an opportunity to make money and called it a day. Obviously, I don’t know that for sure, but the movie felt hallow, like they gave it to whoever wanted it.

When an artist, or musician or film maker is passionate about their project you can feel it. It’s hard to ignore when someone spends so much time on a project and they pour their heart and soul into it, it’s infectious. You feel it and even if it turns out bad you know that they put the work in and that they didn’t just take some company’s money and make a thing. It’s honestly baffling.

 

Image  Via The Brag

Barnes & Nobles gate shows they had some good intentions and Shyamalan wasn’t trying to be offensive but where were the other people of color on their teams? Did Barnes & Nobles even have any? Big decisions for a company are overseen by at least a couple of teams of people like design, marketing, research, someone must have thought this wasn’t the right move. Instead of promoting black authors or other POCs for Black History month you just re-brand old classics and not change anything about them? What does making Dorothy black do? What does making the monster from Frankenstein black do? What does making Peter Pan black do?

 

Image via The Guardian       

 

 

Image via The Guardian

 

Image via Business Insider

 

It’s an empty attempt at diversity and I’m glad they canceled the launch of the redesigns. A lot of these older books are notably racist as well and making the main character a person of color devalues the privilege they originally had to successfully end with an happily ever after. I hope they try this again because it’s a good idea. But they should do redesigns of classic works by black authors and asian authors etc. If they truly believe in diversity and champion for literature from everywhere and from everyone, they should try again, maybe in a couple of years though.

 

Image via Built In

 

So, in honor of these mistakes our fabulous graphic team have redesigned a couple of covers for you to enjoy. They are people of color representing what the true meaning of the book is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images via Bookstr

 

 

                               

Images via Bookstr

 

Image via Bookstr

 

Follow our Instagram for more beautiful pieces of art and fun bookish posts.

 

 

 

Featured image via Mic

 


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Backlash Tweets: Barnes and Noble Attempts Black History Month

Sooooo you may have heard about the Barnes and Noble Black History Month fiasco. Some folks sat in a board meeting and said, “hey guys, let’s get our literary blackface on.” Then proceeded to redo covers of books with white characters depicted as black characters. Instead of simple promoting black authors and black characters. We took to the Twitter streets to find the best tweets.

  1.  Ryan La Sala gives us a sneak peek on the Barnes and Noble take for Pride month:

2. Sylvia K. Alston reminds us that black authors do in fact exist:

 

3. Neasa queues us in on why diversity in the workplace is so important:

4. Most of us were living for the responses to pour in:

5. Not sure how no one caught he already had a flat top anyway:

 

Let’s do better and have a Happy Black History Month.

 

 

 


Bookstr is community supported. If you enjoy Bookstr’s articles, quizzes, graphics and videos, please join our Patreon to support our writers and creators or donate to our Paypal and help Bookstr to keep supporting the book loving community.
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Barnes & Noble Will Be Sold to Elliott Management

According to NPRthere is big news in the publishing world for bookseller Barnes & Noble. Eight months ago, Barnes & Noble revealed it was exploring possible avenues for a potential sale. Now, Barnes & Noble revealed in a press release on Friday that it had reached an agreement with Elliott Management and will be sold to the corporation for 683 million. This move will mean Elliott Management will own the largest bookseller in the United States, which unfortunately has been suffering as of late. Much like other physical bookstores, Barnes & Noble is facing stiff competition from online competitors: primarily Amazon, which today dominates the book world. Amazon regularly sells over 50% of books, leaving bookstores such as Barnes & Noble in the dust. For the past several years, Barnes & Noble has seen its revenue slid downward slowly but surely, presenting numerous challenges for Elliott with this newfound sale to the corporate giant.

 

A man walks past Barnes & Noble in New York City

Image via CNN

 

James Daunt will act as the CEO for Barnes & Noble. Recently, he helped British bookstore Waterstones turn its profits around and pull itself from a similar slump to the one Barnes & Noble has found itself in. Elliott’s financial backing, with 34 billion at least in store, should prove a boon for the struggling giant in booksellers. In any case, the deal will be finalized in September, and we’ll see if the deal pays off.

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

Featured Image Via NPR 

Barnes & Noble holiday book drive logo

Barnes & Noble Customers Donate Over a Million Books to Needy Children

From November 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018, Barnes & Noble collected books, toys, and games for their annual Holiday Book Drive. In 2018, bookworms seriously came through—in total, Barnes and Noble customers from all around the country donated 1.2 million books to Barnes & Noble’s assortment of charities.

 

Since all Barnes & Noble locations participated in the Holiday Book Drive, you can consider this your good deed for the year—that is if you donated! (Since this was the 2018 book drive, you will need to do another good deed for 2019.)

 

A B&N bookseller stands proudly by display

Image Via Bookharvestnc.org

 

Barnes & Noble donates these books and toys to charities such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, the YMCA, Salvation Army, First Book, Ronald McDonald House, Head Start, and United Way. Depending on the area, many books go to local school districts, children’s hospitals, and libraries. Barnes & Nobles’ management feels the significance of the Holiday Book Drive can’t be understated. Tracy Vidakovich, Vice President of Business Development at Barnes & Noble, congratulated customers on their accomplishment:

 

The annual Holiday Book Drive is something that our booksellers and customers look forward to every year because it has such a positive impact on the lives of children in need in their local communities. Our customers recognize the importance of reading in the lives of children and their enormous generosity gives kids of every background the chance to read, discover and learn.

 

 

Barnes & Noble holiday book drive logo

Image Via Motherhood.com

 

If you missed the chance to donate, don’t let that be your excuse. Your local library will accept your donations year-round, and let’s get real—you’re not going to make more than a dollar or two selling your used books anyway. If you feel your books could be more meaningful elsewhere, check out Bookstr’s list of worthwhile book charities. Many libraries, especially those in prisons and underfunded school districts, are lacking in new, quality copies of books. But you can always help to change that story.

 

 

Featured Image Via Eastridgecenter.com

barnes and noble

Anxiety Book Sales Soaring, says Barnes and Noble

Americans have endured a great deal of stress and anxiety this past year as the political climate has intensified. Tally that stress with the everyday burdens Americans face and anxiety rises.

 

To combat this anxiety, many Americans are turning to bookstores. According to Barnes & Noble, anxiety-related sales have increased by 26% between last year and June 2018. 

 

“We may be living in an anxious nation,” said Liz Hardwell, Senior Director of Merchandising.

 

The stats taken from the book retailer are not the only reports that show an increase in anxiety. According to a poll administered by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), nearly 40% of Americans are more anxious now than they were a year ago.

 

Hardwell says the good news is that “book buyers across the country are also looking for solutions to their stress.”

 

image

Image Via Getty Images

 

According to their sales reports, the top-selling titles include: The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne, The Anxiety Toolkit: Strategies for Fine-Tuning Your Mind and Moving Past Your Stuck Points by Alice Boyes, and The Anxiety and Worry Workbook: The Cognitive Behavioral Solution by David Clark and Aaron Beck.

 

Anxiety book sales increased the most dramatically in California, followed by Michigan and Massachusetts. Conversely, Anxiety book sales dropped the most in Texas, North Carolina, and Florida, according to Barnes and Noble.

 

Though anxiety levels have increased for many Americans, in the same APA poll, a little over half (51%) said they have never sought care from a mental health professional.

 

The rise in mental health-related book sales may suggest that Americans are seeking self-treatment methods to overcome their anxiety. Whether those affected seek professional care, or self-help books, seeking out positive ways to overcome anxiety is what matters.

 

 

Featured Image Via CNN