CPSIA Update: Fahrenheit 451

By February 10, 2009Economy, Regulations

I just came back from my local thrift store with tears in my eyes! I watched as boxes and boxes of children’s books were thrown into the garbage! Today was the deadline and I just can’t believe it! Every book they had on the shelves prior to 1985 was destroyed! I managed to grab a 1967 edition of “The Outsiders” from the top of the box, but so many!

From a commenter at a thread on children’s books and the CPSIA at Etsy, cited by Walter Olson at Overlawyered.com. (Etsy is an online marketplace for hand-made products.)

More commentary, this time from Valorie Jacobsen at Overlawyered:

I wasn’t thrilled with the exception stating that we can sell pre-1985 children’s books as long as they are pricey vintage collectibles for adult collectors. Um, great, but most of our children’s books, even our older children’s books, are sold for children to read. And read them, they do.

We ran an audit in our bookstore today. We have about 7000 books catalogued. Of our children’s chapter books, about 65% are pre-1985. Of our children’s picture books, about 35% are pre-1985. Most of these sell for under $10 and are stocked as children’s reading.

As an ethical matter, I really can’t discard our cultural heritage just because the CPSC has decreed that books published through *1984* may or may not still form a legal part of the canon of children’s literature for our culture.

Think of how different the outcome would have been last year if more reporters had examined the legislation and not accepted the claims of the “consumer advocates” so readily. The nation would have been well served by a headline, “Congress moves to ban children’s books.”

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