The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is urging booksellers to post a new statement proclaiming their support for free speech and reader privacy. The statement–titled “To Our Customers” – explains why booksellers believe it is important to carry a wide diversity of books, including works that some people may find offensive. It also promises customers that the bookstore will protect the privacy of their book purchases. “There are many good reasons for making a clear statement of store policy on First Amendment issues,” ABFFE President Chris Finan said. “It makes the point that one of the most important roles of a bookstore is to protect free speech. It helps build support for the store and for free speech. It also can be useful in dealing with customers who may be offended by a particular book by reminding them that bookstores exist to serve the entire community.”
To Our Customers
The shelves of this bookstore hold a wide array of titles containing ideas as diverse as the world in which we live. We believe that it is in the best interest of our community and democratic society for ideas of all kinds to be available to interested individuals, regardless of what our own tastes may be. In that spirit, we believe that censorship—whether by individuals, special interests groups, or government—damages our society.
We also believe that it is our responsibility to you, and to the First Amendment, to respect the privacy of your choice of books, magazines and other materials. We will not sell information identifying your purchases to a third party without your permission or otherwise disclose it to anyone, including the government, on our own initiative.