Frontlist | Powell’s Books responds to protest on controversial book release
Powell’s Books responded to criticism regarding the release of a controversial book.
Protesters gathered outside their flagship store on West Burnside Street Monday after it was noted that Powell’s would continue to sell Andy Ngo’s new book.
Ngo, a conservative writer from Portland, has made headlines in the past for covering protesters and documenting the unrest in the Rose City. As his new book is slated to be released by Hachette Book Group, a protest was held outside the Powell’s Books location in the Pearl District.
KATU crews at the scene spoke to several people in the crowd, many who said they felt the book was “racist” and that the book shop was supporting racism.
Powell’s responded to the criticism on Monday, saying that they will not be promoting the book or carrying it in their shops, but they will be selling the book in their online catalogue, citing their commitment to free speech.
KATU News received a full statement from Emily Powell, which read in part:
We carry books that we find anywhere from simply distasteful or badly written, to execrable, as well as those that we treasure. We believe it is the work of bookselling to do so. Once a book has made its way through the publication process, our job is to let the reader decide its fate. We can not wade into the work of discerning which titles are suitable for sale, and which are not (provided they have come to us through established publishing houses) – that act of discernment lies with the reader. Decades ago we received credible bomb threats for selling the work of Salman Rushdie, and yet we carried on. We can not behave any differently today when we feel differently about the book or writer in question.