After news about six Dr. Seuss books being pulled from the marketplace led to skyrocketing sales online, eBay responded by delisting the six books.
The continuing controversy over Dr. Seuss Enterprises announcing that it would be removing six Dr. Seuss books from print led to a massive influx of people purchasing these so-called “banned” books from secondary markets like eBay. The prices on eBay were becoming exorbitant, with collections of all six books going for upwards of $5,000. That changed late Wednesday into Thursday as eBay delisted the six books from the auction/online sales website.
One seller who had sole a copy of one of the discontinued books received an e-mail from eBay pointing out that the site would not allow the book to be sold because of its “offensive materials policy,” explaining that “Dr. Seuss Enterprises has stopped publication of this book due to its negative portrayal of some ethnicities. As a courtesy, we have ended your item and refunded your selling fees, and as long as you do not relist the item, there will be no negative impact to your account.”
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The six pulled books were And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer. Dr. Seuss Enterprise, which was founded in 1993 by Audrey Geisel, the widow of Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, to help promote her late husband’s work after his 1991 passing, explained that the books were being removed because they portrayed certain groups of “people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” Audrey Geisel passed away herself in 2018, so the company no longer has a direct connection to Geisel’s estate.
None of the six books are particularly big sellers, with If I Ran the Zoo selling the most copies in 2020 with 7,000 (as Dr. Seuss’ first ever children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street has likely gone through the most editions). Some of the books sold as little as single digits in 2020. Seuss’ most popular books, like Green Eggs and Ham, sell over 10,000 copies a week.
Critics pointed out that eBay had copies of both Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and the white supremacist novel, The Turner Diaries, by William Luther Pierce, on sale at the same time the Seuss books were being pulled. eBay responded by pulling those listsings, as well, explaining to the Wall Street Journal that with, “millions of transactions happening every day on our platform across more than 190 markets, we are constantly evaluating and making improvements to ensure prohibited items remain off eBay.”
The books continue to be listed on other secondary markets, though, such as Amazon, where Seuss’ other books are also seeing a sales boom.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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