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The First Amendment states: Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press... Yet books are banned by government entities regularly. In the summer of 2012, Brevard County, Florida, banned EL James' Fifty Shades of Gray from its libraries. “It's quite simple,” Cathy Schweinsberg, library services director, told Florida Today. “It doesn't meet our selection criteria. Nobody asked us to take it off the shelves. But we bought some copies before we realized what it was.” Writers, of course, are outraged when this happens to their work, but writers are not alone in the bookbanning battle. When a book is denied exposure, the bookstore owners, librarians, publishers and readers suffer. Threats to the written word make allies of us, even where the ages-old battle of art versus commerce rages among us. When it comes to bookbanning, basic American freedoms are at stake for us today and for our children tomorrow. People in the book trade understand this vividly, as an open letter to American readers spelled out in April, 1990. Signed by Ed Morrow, president of the American Booksellers Association, and Harry Hoffman, president of Walden Book Co., Inc., the letter stated in part: We believe attempts to censor ideas to which we have access—whether in books, magazines, plays, works of art, television, movies or song—are not simply isolated instances of harassment by diverse special-interest groups. Rather they are part of a growing pattern of increasing intolerance which is changing the fabric of America... Censorship cannot eliminate evil. It can only kill freedom. We believe Americans have the right to buy, stores have the right to sell, authors have the right to write and publishers have the right to publish Constitutionally-protected material. Period. Bookbanning is a hardy virus and that if it is not confronted consistently it will continue to spread. Noble discusses the banning of books throughout history and how it affects all levels of our society, from politics and religion to education and publishing.

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