Literary giants, Barnes & Noble and Penguin Random House, face backlash after attempting to address diversity with new book covers
Penguin Random House and Barnes & Noble collaborated to redesign the covers of twelve classic young adult novels with 'Diverse Editions' to display during Black History Month, which is recognized in February.
But as the books were debuted on Monday, the public's response wasn't positive and Barnes & Noble has since pulled the new covers from shelves.
Critics suggested that it would have been more proactive to promote books written by authors from diverse backgrounds.
Social media was abuzz with readers voicing their concerns over the way two of the literary community's largest entities chose to approach diversity.
Barnes & Noble was like, well if Netflix can change the thumbnail to show the Black extra in the background of a show they want you to watch...— Bethany C. Morrow (@BCMorrow) February 5, 2020
So, they're not retellings by poc and their #OwnVoices? They're just new covers? So instead of paying poc to write new fresh stories, they're hornswoggling people into paying for the same old stories with covers that are heavily stereotyped & have nothing to do with the content?— Mercedes Siler is Sad and Busy as Hell (@MercedesSiler) February 5, 2020
Another version of literary blackface....eye... https://t.co/uF1u8uEfv8— LL McKinney (@ElleOnWords) February 5, 2020
The books that were given new covers featuring characters of color were Alice in Wonderland, Romeo and Juliet, Three Musketeers, Moby Dick, The Secret Garden, The Count of Monte Cristo, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Emma, the Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Treasure Island, and Frankenstein.
Barnes & Noble responded by pulling its Diverse Editions and released the following statement:
"We acknowledge the voices who have expressed concerns about the Diverse Editions project at our Barnes & Noble Fifth Avenue store and have decided to suspend the initiative."
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