True or False , Banning A Book Makes it More Likely to be Read

BAYLOR

There Are Always new Things to Learn.
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Messages
20,684
Over history, books have been banned for a variety of reasons, Political, Religious, or the or societies culture Brahmins deemed a given book or books unacceptable for cultural consumption. But does banning book actually do the opposite ? Is banning a book actually good publicity and good for book sales ? What re your thoughts on the literary quality and aspirations of banned books ?
 
Last edited:

hitmouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2011
Messages
3,527
I would say that True or False is a false binary. The situation is much more complex than that, and generalisations should be treated with caution.

There are certainly notable banned works of great merit which have survived and been seen to be worthwhile in their own right, quite apart from the notoriety that the ban bestowed. Examples might include Lady Chatterly's Lover, Tropic of Cancer.

There are plently of other banned works that are mediocre or simply obnoxious. Banning may be a sign of a limited and intolerant administration or society but it does not automatically mean the work has any particular merit.
 

tinkerdan

∞<Q-Satis
Joined
Dec 10, 2012
Messages
5,381
Location
x² + y² = r²:when x~∞
To carry @hitmouse point further or who know maybe in another direction. It seems that many of the well preforming banned books were already being published widely enough that cow towing to the ban would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Conversely, a book not done well and not doing well would likely die by itself--yet if banned, and if the publisher were to produce more just because of the ban it would also be like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Honestly banning books is probably not that necessary in a lot of cases; because they would die by themselves.

However, with self publishing the banning of books might be a benefit--if done well--to the potential readers.

I just can't picture it being done well.
 

Finch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2019
Messages
162
I don't think you can generalise. A lot depend on the book and when it was banned The last book to be banned in England was Lord Horror by David Britton . Published in 1990 banned in 1992 and the ban was lifted in 1992 . It is currently out of print .
 

BAYLOR

There Are Always new Things to Learn.
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Messages
20,684
If your an authority figure and you tell people not to read something , they will read it . James Branch Cabells novel Jurgen was banned in Boston and in New York. No doubt this helped sales. :)
 

CupofJoe

Some medals you wear on your heart not your sleeve
Joined
Mar 29, 2019
Messages
1,143
I can remember people bring back copies of Spycatcher[?] from Canada and Australia because it was banned here in the UK.
Apparently, it was terrible and it was the attempt at suppression that made it a hit.
Getting past the hype for why a book should be [or not] banned to find out if I'd want to read it could be difficult. But now with the interweb, I could probably just find it elsewhere.
 

hitmouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2011
Messages
3,527
I can remember people bring back copies of Spycatcher[?] from Canada and Australia because it was banned here in the UK.
Apparently, it was terrible and it was the attempt at suppression that made it a hit.
Getting past the hype for why a book should be [or not] banned to find out if I'd want to read it could be difficult. But now with the interweb, I could probably just find it elsewhere.
It wasn’t terrible. It is pretty average, and the revelations which got it banned are not particularly shocking or even interesting. The book would probably have remained obscure were it not for the ban, which gave the book notoriety beyond any real merit.
 

Vladd67

Stake Holder
Joined
Jun 10, 2007
Messages
3,896
It’s not just official banning. Recently Andy Ngo released a book about Antifa, there was a protest outside a major bookshop in Portland demanding the book not be sold, lots of people commented that they didn’t know this book had been published and would now be buying it.
 

Dave

Non Bio
Staff member
Joined
Jan 5, 2001
Messages
21,795
Location
Way on Down South, London Town
Banning A Book Makes it More Likely to be Read - during what period of time?
As people have pointed out, we live in an information age. Information leaks out. I don't think you could effectively have a total ban on a book today. However, some books banned in the past, that are now available, would not have been read during the author's lifetime, and some not for a considerable time after.
 

Matteo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2012
Messages
765
I also would not read a book simply because it was banned, but the fact that it was banned would bring it my attention and I would likely find out a little more about the book. If it intrigued me, I may then read it. Also, the media reports in such situations usually contain a list of previous banned books and so the same would apply. But again, I would not those books simply because they were banned.
 

tobl

dimension jumping portal required
Joined
Aug 13, 2007
Messages
1,357
Location
portugal
banned books ... i've read the book from salman rushdie the satanic versicles just to see what the fuss was about and in my opinion if it hadn't been a fatwa i would have said it was a publicity stunt because it was one of the most boring and stupid books i've ever read. i also try to read jose saramago, specially the one that was censured and honestly i just can't read him. on the other hand i read the last tentacion of christ by nikolas katzakantos and i liked it... so, it's a kind of a mix but yeah, if the book has some kind of problem i more like it to try to read it.
 

Robert Zwilling

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Jun 12, 2018
Messages
1,026
It does depend on the book and the people reading it. The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs was originally banned. People did read it, but not by the millions. Over time it got read. Back then the number of copies printed controlled how many people read it. Even today people are undecided if it is a masterpiece or an illegible piece of trash. With the internet a simple synopsis can easily broadcast an idea without the book ever being seen.
 

hitmouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2011
Messages
3,527
I think it is reasonable to say that the internet etc changes the historic meaning of banning since information is difficult to control. it probably does work in certain situations and regimes where internet access is monitored, so there is at least a threat of consequences.

Fortunately we are mostly beyond the point where physically owning a particular book gets you burned at the stake, and more importantly, we are ( with some notable exceptions) in an age where expression and debate of ideas is allowed.
 

BigBadBob141

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
1,103
Am pretty sure if you try to ban something then people will want to read it, the more it's banned the more they will want it, no matter how badly it's written!
Like those morons in the USA who thought banning alcohol would force country wide temperance.
All this did as help the rise of organised crime, Capone was laughing all the way to the bank!
 

Dave

Non Bio
Staff member
Joined
Jan 5, 2001
Messages
21,795
Location
Way on Down South, London Town
The question was "is it more likely to be read" and not "will people be more likely to want to read it". So, again I ask "during what period of time"? Because people are making arguments about situations today using examples from the past and hasty generalisations.

The question is also a false dichotomy. As others have pointed out, it is more complicated than true or false. It certainly isn't a good marketing strategy.
 
Last edited:

Vladd67

Stake Holder
Joined
Jun 10, 2007
Messages
3,896
In today's world of social media, the internet etc. attempting to ban a book just creates more publicity for the book, likewise with injunctions on news stories. A footballer in the UK had been having an affair with his sister in law, I think it was, and an injunction was slapped on the UK press banning any mention of his name, of course, a couple of minutes on your search engine of choice revealed his name thanks to the foreign press, making the injunction completely useless. In the same way, if a book is banned in one country it is usually possible to download it from somewhere else. The only way to stop a book from being read is to go the route of cancel culture and apply pressure on the publisher making sure the unfortunate person's book is never allowed to be released in the first place.
Isaac Asimov said:
Any book worth banning is a book worth reading
 

paranoid marvin

Run VT Erroll!
Supporter
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
4,423
In today's world of social media, the internet etc. attempting to ban a book just creates more publicity for the book, likewise with injunctions on news stories. A footballer in the UK had been having an affair with his sister in law, I think it was, and an injunction was slapped on the UK press banning any mention of his name, of course, a couple of minutes on your search engine of choice revealed his name thanks to the foreign press, making the injunction completely useless. In the same way, if a book is banned in one country it is usually possible to download it from somewhere else. The only way to stop a book from being read is to go the route of cancel culture and apply pressure on the publisher making sure the unfortunate person's book is never allowed to be released in the first place.
Yes, I thought it was curious trying to suppress a news story in one country when we are now so global. And doing so only attracts more interest from people who otherwise couldn't have cared less.

As regards banning books. Well, this can only be done by governments. And exactly why does 'the man' not want you to know what is written in the book? Only way is to read it and find out. I agree stopping it from being published in the first place is more effective, but the problem is can you get an agreement on this worldwide? And even if you could there is always on line. The more you try to suppress something, the more interest you will generate.
 

Acturius

New Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
2
I think that banning a book will probably increase the interest. But not about the book, rather the reason of the banning. So the reason of the banning may increase the interest of the book and not the banning itself.
 

Similar threads


Top