Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Friday, April 21, 2006

WalMart Censors and Cute Guy Friday

This post at Romancing the Blog got me thinking. You all know I have issues with WalMart, and WalMartians, because I work as a vendor there. So I'm not necessarily shouting their praises, but...

Why is any store automatically deemed evil because it chooses what it wants to sell? The poster at RTB was wondering if authors of more sexy, envelope-pushing imprints were...forced? encouraged? to tone down their stories because WM wouldn't sell them, and since WM posts huge impressive numbers of mass market sales, if you really want to sell you have to conform to WM standards, right?

First off, WM will sell anything it can. They're out to make money. But, they are also touting a family-friendly image; since their book rack has almost all the covers facing out they're careful about sexy covers. Read the comments at RTB for the rest of that discussion.

My beef, if I have one, is this: how do we judge what is, or isn't, censorship? Is no one allowed to have standards? If I had a bookstore and chose not to stock erotica books, am I censoring them? Just a few years ago the only place I could find inspirationals was a Christian bookstore. (And I suspect the reason WM now sells tons of them is because WM is at least two dollars cheaper. Your average Christian bookstore is ka-ching expensive, y'all!) Were these B. Dalton type stores censoring Christian books because they didn't sell them?

Poppycock. WalMart is a private company, just like B&N, just like any other retailer. They have the right to sell, or not sell, any darn thing they please. I may gripe, but I'm not going to paste a censorship label on them. They aren't preventing the spicier books from being written, printed, or sold. After all, what are you grousing about? Not having to karate chop your way into the book section, dodge the kid throwing his popcorn chicken at his little brother while you choose your book, then stand in a line with 186 people to buy it? For goodness' sake, buy it online from the comfort of your own home. I'd buy just about everything that way if I could.

Rant off. And just to make us all feel better after my venting, how's about some Cute Guy Friday? From Phantom of the Opera and the upcoming Beowulf, Gerard Butler.


Anonymous Megan said...

I don't know if it's so much censorship as it is conforming to the store's policies. A publisher might find it worthwhile to do without the 'tea and crumpets'-esque covers in favor of something a little more conservative, in the hopes it'll sell more. Which is why W-M can sell bleeped-out versions of CDs and DVDs. I think that's silly, but obviously there is a market for it, or the major music labels wouldn't make those albums.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Abby said...

People get freaked out because they start thinking that if they can't get sold in Wal-Mart, they won't sell. Maybe they're right - what the hell do I know. But I don't think it means that Wal-Mart has to start carrying everything in the world as a public service.

For Wal-Mart it's a simple equation: Our customers + what our customers want = what we stock. That's all they think about, people. There's no conspiracy.

Buying online? I am so there.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Bernita said...

Good for you.
I agree.
Is it just me, or has there been an awful lot of whining, bitching going on lately and looking for false targets?

5:40 AM  
Blogger Robyn said...

Sing it, sister!

6:31 AM  
Blogger quirkychild said...

Censorship... My Dad has a really good blog post about that here...(I hope the HTML tag works!)

Ah, Ol' Gerry...My cousin is OBSESSED with him. To the point of having a large picture of the Phantom taped to the ceiling over her bed...

But you haven't seen Gerard Butler if you haven't seen Dear Frankie. It's a great movie.

9:21 AM  
Blogger quirkychild said...

Here's the

9:22 AM  
Blogger Bernita said...

Did I say the last guy is!

Did I say that I love this blog?

12:54 PM  
Blogger December Quinn said...

Well said! I get so tired of people who should know better crying censorship. Only the government can actually censor. Everything else is the free market. WalMart doesn't sell vibrators, either, but nobody whines about that.

Personally I don't shop at WalMart, or rather, I didn't when there was one nearby--which had more to do with the dirty stores, rude staff, and crappy selection than anything else. I'm not a fan, but at the same time, c'mon guys, it's a business. They're in business to make money. They're going to expand anywhere they think they'll make money.

The South Park episode about this was, I think, pretty head-on. Don't shop there if you don't like it.

And I think Gerard Butler is awfully cute, but his overbite in Phantom distracted me immensely.

2:05 AM  

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