B&N, PRH cancel Diverse Editions promotion after backlash

The creators used AI to find books where a character's race was not

"We acknowledge the voices who have expressed concerns about the Diverse Editions project at our Barnes & Noble Fifth Avenue store and have chose to suspend the initiative", Barnes & Noble said in the statement.

Barnes & Noble also shared on Twitter that it would be canceling the corresponding Diverse Editions event.

Critics also contend Barnes & Noble could have chosen to feature classic literature by authors of color rather than print new editions of books that are already commonplace. One cover of "The Wizard of Oz" shows Dorothy as an African American girl with her hair in puffs and in a braid, holding red sneakers instead of the iconic ruby red shoes. The publisher printed 42 covers across 12 different classic titles such as Moby Dick and Romeo and Juliet, re-casting lead characters whose race was never explicitly indicated in the source text as people of color. These included Frankenstein, Peter Pan and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde among others - nearly all books by white authors, about characters presumed to be white. "Apparently, black people don't write "classic' books".

"Another version of literary blackface", tweeted author LL McKinney.

"What?!? No! Is it really this hard?" 'What in the Caucasian, ' tweeted Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist, her comment quickly receiving thousands of likes (currently 2.3k). No Black girls at all?

None of which addresses the reality that every writer surveyed for the project used to be white (or that the books in quiz are all within the public domain, which nearly absolutely contributed to the probability to promote them with out having to pay any pesky authors at all).

B&N Stumbles With Plan for 'Diverse' Covers of Classic Titles

Another character in the novel is referred to as having "skin, which she had been used to cavil at, as wanting colour, had a clearness and delicacy which really needed no fuller bloom".

Barnes and Noble, which has the largest number of book stores in the United States, backed down on Wednesday.

The bookstore chain announced this month that they will release classic books with new covers that reinterpret the protagonists as characters of color.

"The covers are not a substitute for black voices or writers of color, whose work and voices deserve to be heard", a spokesperson for the company said in a statement. The booksellers who championed this initiative did so convinced it may perhaps most likely perhaps perhaps abet drive engagement with these traditional titles.

After backlash on social media, especially for not choosing books by Black authors, and accusations of blackface, Barnes & Noble cancelled the series.

Penguin Random House says it will donate up to $10,000 to the Hurston Wright Foundation, which works to develop, discover and server black authors.



Other news