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In the News: Abunga

While checking out the site, I came across this. I've missed the news and GMA which I usually watch so this is my first time coming across this. So what do you think? - ILove2Read

Online Bookstore Charged With Nazi Tactics

Marketing Expert Says Strategy -- and Free Publicity -- Is Effective

By Susan Donaldson James

March 4, 2008 —

Using a clever strategy that has pit Christian readers against anti-censorship intellectuals, a new online bookstore has impressed some marketing experts with its enlightened approach. -- a kind of Facebook meets prayer book -- touts itself as a "family friendly" Web site that allows its buyers to ban saucy books from their accounts. What's more, if enough customers block a certain book, the company removes it from the site altogether.

Just this month, the Knoxville, Tenn., site banned "The Golden Compass," a children's fantasy novel that has been targeted by religious groups as being anti-Christian since the release of the film version of the book in December.

The site launched in the fall and initially blocked 65,000 titles; since then, another 100 to 200 books have been dropped.

Abunga donates 5 percent of its revenues to charity, which are also chosen by customers. The nonprofits include Christian churches, anti-abortion rights groups and mainstream groups such as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Critics have compared Abunga's methods to Nazi book burning, but its founders say the site is more about participation than censorship -- a cross between social networking and cost-friendly online retailing.

Abunga Chairman Lee Martin told that censorship charges were unfounded.

"It is truly a free country, and I'm not the public library or the forced education system," he said. "I believe in free enterprise, and I think people care what we are about."

Last month, Martin sent out an e-mail to supporters, saying, "The battle has now begun."


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