The Home Front

Politics, culture, and American life — from the family perspective.

The Tennessean Investigates Books-a-Million Stores for their Pornographic Displays


Well, this is interesting. Yesterday, I got a call from my home state’s newspaper about this blog post I told you guys about yesterday. I had been shopping with the kids when I saw a book cover that obviously should not have been in plain view of children. I’ve been accused of overreacting — people have said that I simply want to avoid the topic of sex and that I needed to relax. Really? At least part of that is true. I’m not quite ready to talk to my four-year-old about 365 sexual positions, since we’re just starting her A, B, Cs.  (Maybe once we get the alphabet down, I’ll feel differently.) 

Sadly, I’m not overreacting, folks. Here is the book cover that is currently in full view of any children walking down the aisle: Warning, it’s a photograph of two people having sex.

The Tennessean went to several stores in the Nashville area to compare displays. In other words, the Spring Hill employees who told me it was corporate policy were either misinformed or dishonest. Or perhaps the other stores’ employees decided they didn’t want children to see people having sex as they innocently walked through the store.

The manager of the Spring Hill, Tenn., store, who only identified himself as “Eric,” had no comment for the newspaper. Heidi Hall’s article begins:

SPRING HILL, Tenn. — Author Nancy French had to do a little extra mothering on a pre-Mother’s Day shopping excursion to Books A Million in Spring Hill.

She was steering her children — ages 13, 11 and 4 — down the military history aisle when saw something that shocked her. She told them to freeze and turn around.

There, on a shelf labeled “Sexuality,” was the book 365 Sex Positions, complete with a cover photo featuring a nude couple demonstrating one.

Read all of her article here.

Since I came out with this blog post, people from all over have commented about similar experiences:

I just read the article in The Tennessean about your recent experience in Books a Million. I too had a similiar experience around Valentine’s Day in Books A Million in Mt. Juliet. Several copies of the 365 Sex Positions were placed on a “Valentine” table — 2nd one in from the main door — at waist level. I spoke to the Manager who advised me it was a corporate decision and gave me a 1-800 number. I immediately attempted to contact the Corporate office, but was unsuccessful. Needless to say, that display was shocking, especially to be at waist level and close to the front door. I too am a fan of Books A Million, but disappointed in decisions to display material that is inappropriate for children in areas where children frequently browse the various books displayed on “themed” tables.

And a former manager of a Books-a-Million encouraged me to take back my discount card:

BAM lives and breathes their discount cards. Without them they would have no advantage in their market. They force managers to threaten the associates with termination if hey don’t make a certain goal. The twenty dollars spent on the card is pure profit for them. They honestly don’t care whether they sell books or not, only the discount card and in the last few years their magazines for millionaires program. As for the pornographic books, they do indeed get paid by the publishers of those books to keep those specific titles on display, so they are making money whether anyone buys them or not. In fact next time you see a display like that, they’re called “top shelves”, check behind the books on the shelf and you will find the complete list of he books that they want up there. This also is true for their magazines. There were many times that BAM would prominently display pro marijuana magazines such as High Times or homosexual lifestyle magazines on their showboards because they had been paid to do so. My BAM was located in a small conservative town and this did not go over well with our clientele. I substituted the titles one time and was reprimanded for doing so. BAM has lot of dirty laundry they would rather the public did not know.

Would you help me try to talk some sense into this store? If you haven’t already called thecorporate headquarters, the number is 1-800-201-3550.

Also, here are some suggested tweets for those of you inclined to approach the store via Twitter:

@booksamillion ok with #porn near the kids’ section? The one in Spring Hill, Tennessee is! Please RT 2 fight indecency:

Check out what sexual book covers @booksamillion believes is ok for kids to see: #porn

I guess it’s no wonder these brick-and-mortar book stores are closing all over the country. I think I’m beginning to feel less sad about that.


Subscribe to National Review