I am morally opposed to the new SET A WATCHMAN by Harper Lee. She has been saying for 50 years that she would never release it, and her sister safeguarded her stance. Now that the sister has passed away, the manuscript has suddenly been “found” and published. I’m very much of the opinion that Lee is suffering from mild dementia and has allowed herself to be persuaded to release the novel which she spent half a lifetime suppressing.
That being said, I own a bookstore. I cannot and will not ban a book from the store because I don’t agree with it. As soon as I start doing that, I’ll be limiting my selection of books to only those which I appreciate philosophically, politically, or otherwise; and once that happens, we no longer become a bookstore but a book collection that happens to be for sale. It’s not quite censorship, because we are a private business, but it’s the next best thing.
We can’t buy every book, of course. But our selections are based on condition, interest, inherent value, or bottom-line shelf appeal. There are a few authors whose books I have read and who I find to be a waste of time: although I don’t go out and buy multiple copies of these books (as I do for my favorite books that I can heartily recommend), I still buy them if our customers continue to want them.
So, SET A WATCHMAN is for sale in our store. The good news for me is that the reaction to it has been lukewarm at best, and soon I will be able in good conscience to refuse to buy copies if I already have one.