Friday, February 26, 2010

Common Sense Media Integrated into Barnes and Noble's Interface

This is one of those topics that raises my blood pressure to the point where I can't ever write about it....but I was raised pretty much without restrictions on my behavior, and certainly none on my reading, so I am more than a little perturbed by our current nanny-state.

I read about this as Sarah Dessen first discovered it, Linda Braun reported on the YALSA blog,  as Sassymonkey described and Liz Burns explored at Tea Cozy, the Barnes and Noble website has started integrating recommended reading ages and green/yellow/red "warnings" in a "For Parents" box, well above the synopsis and editorial reviews.

But I started noticing many books didn't offer that content, even books reviewed at the Common Sense Media site. Witness Forever:

I also noticed "For Parents" section didn't appear in the only book which has ever inspired a student complaint about explicit content at my school, Jenny Downham's Before I Die. Granted, it's not in the Common Sense database, but note that B&N's states age range starts with 12. I'm guessing that was specified by the publishers, which seems like an infinitely better system than leaving that up to the parent and child barometer constituting CommonSense Media.

So, is B&N picking and choosing which reviews to integrate? I'm guessing by the Forever ommision that it's an ISBN match rather than an author/title one....but this kind of reckless and selective linking to user-generated content designed to limit access are enough to put me off B&N. Too bad they have run all the independent booksellers out of my town. I guess I will be heading to Booksamillion (or Booksahundred, as we called it in library school) for my bricks-and-mortar fix in the meantime.

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