Thursday, February 25, 2010

B&N to Place Third Party Rating on All Children's Books

Publisher's weekly recently ran this story about B&N placing ratings on all Children's titles.

I've used Common Sense Media. I think it's a good tool for parents. However, I am strongly opposed to putting condensed info (by condensed I mean negative) about books on a book store's website.

Especially, since Common Sense Media provides no guidelines for media producers on how they rate books (at least that I could find). So, how are we suppose to be able to avoid a negative rating? I also couldn't find a process to appeal a rating (if they don't like your book you appear to be SOL).

Someone asked me, ins't this no different from video game ratings? There's a huge difference. First, ratings on video games are done to specified standards (publishers know, mostly, what they need to do get keep from getting a mature rating). Second, the rating is assigned before the book is published (so there's time to make changes). Third, game publishers can challenge a given rating. Last, the rating are generally accurate, whereas some of the rating by Common Sense Media are factually wrong.

I believe these types of tools are great for parents, but listing on negative information next to a book title in a shopping environment is the first step to eventual censorship.

You just spent 3 years of your life writing and polishing your novel. But wait, there's an elf smoking a pipe and drinking a mug of something that seems to be alcoholic. We're sorry, that's not acceptable for children.
Oh well, too bad for you!

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