Monday, December 21, 2009

Atheism and Cheap Books

I wasn't sure if I should be pleased or upset today when I ventured in to my local Half Price Books store and found that the "Agnosticism/Atheism" section was gone. Totally gone. I wandered around the "Religious" section for a bit, then over to "Science and Mathematics," and there was simply nothing to be had. No Dawkins. No Hitchens. No Barker. No Russell. No Ehrman. Nothing.
I went to a clerk to ask where the section was relocated. "It was relocated into non-existence." WHAT?! He showed me the "Comparative Religion" section - 3 copies of Letter to a Christian Nation just doesn't count for an atheist presence on the shelf. (And who sells that book anyway? Christians who were fooled into reading it?) I found one copy of "Breaking the Spell," and though I've not read it, we only have the paperback copy and the hardback was $12, so I bought it.
So, should I be upset that "Christian Fiction," the mother of all "duh" sections, took up not one but 6 bookshelves, and not even one shelf was set aside for my precious disbelief? Or...should I be pleased that atheists buy good books and don't sell them for pennies on the dollar to sit at a store where cheapos like me go to get a quick fix?
I'm not even sure what I was looking for, but I'm 99% sure I didn't find it.


Dixie said...

you COULD open your own bookstore...

make it an artsy atheist gay bookstore... like the one Ellen had on her show where she told the world she was gay... I thought that was a pretty cool store...

talk about pipe dreams!

Anonymous said...

I noticed the same thing at the Half-Price on Hulen in Fort Worth a couple of weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

I feel for you. But, ya need to understand how bookstores work.
They don't own the books unless they are a USED BOOK STORE. Publishers put the books in the stores. The store sells them for the distributors and or publishers.
Same with music stores.
They respond to what the market says. Today's bookstore also has to compete with such sites as Amazon. Come to think of it most of the books I've bought in the last few years were purchased via the internet.
Also you have to understand that many people who are atheists or agnostics are not aware of online groups and sites. I myself have only for less then two years been aware of the growth of atheism or atheism awareness. The net has done wonders for it.

SPace said...

Mom, why would it be a gay atheist bookstore? ...last I checked, I'm still straight.... ?? must not have a Half Price Books nearby? it IS a used bookstore, and I think they also take overstock.

But you are correct, the internet has done wonders for awareness...of a lot of things.

SPace said...

ps. I hate anonymous comments.

Arich & Syble Harrison said...

Could it be microcosmic?

Jaclyn said...

I have worked at two Half Price Books. At the first, I think I would find atheist titles in philosophy such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Dawkins would be in science.

At the current store (for the last 3-4 months), I don't even know where we keep them.

Honestly, off the top of my head the only atheist authors I know are Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris.

And I consider myself atheist. But atheism is not really a religion, right? Is it science? Where would you put it?

SPace said...

Shay - microcosmic? I think it's a-cosmic. haha

Jaclyn - I don't think any bookstore knows where to put atheist authored books. I've seen them in the religion section, the science section, the philosophy section...just about everywhere.
At the HPB I went to, the guy made a few suggestions to different places they could be, but I found very little in any of them. Such is life.

Alex said...

I have a Half-Price near me and I'm sure there is no A/A section at all. I sometimes find some lightly atheistic titles in strange sections, but there is no cohesion to the grouping at all. I live in such a religiously uptight part of the country, just seeing the word 'atheist' on a shelf would be too much for many.
But i think I'll be a squeaky wheel in the bookstore the next time I visit.