Monday , May 20 2024

Controvertial UNC Policy Boon to Publisher

According to PW Daily For Booksellers:

    The assignment of translator Michael Sells’s Approaching the Qur’an
    (White Cloud Press) as required reading for incoming freshman at the
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has resulted in a federal
    court case, national media coverage and legislative calls to curtail
    the university’s funding. It’s also given the book an Amazon ranking
    of 40 last week, created demand at the state’s booksellers and made it
    a challenge for White Cloud, Ashland, Ore., and its distributor, SCB,
    to keep on top of orders.

    White Cloud, a nine-year-old publishers of titles in “traditions of
    the great faiths,” was “pleasantly” caught by surprise when it learned
    of the 1999 trade paperback’s selection by UNC in June, according to
    publisher Steven Scholl. “Fortunately at the time we were getting
    ready for another reprinting of the steady seller, but over the summer
    have gone back for four more,” bringing the total to 41,000 copies in

    A range of booksellers, including Sally Brewster, buyer at Charlotte’s
    Park Road Books (formerly Little Professor Book Center), Tom Campbell,
    co-owner of The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, buyer Robert Segedy at
    McIntyre’s Fine Books and Bookends in Fearrington Village near Chapel
    Hill and Bristol Books manager Nicki Leone in Wilmington, indicated a
    much greater customer interest than initially anticipated.

    Quail Ridge Books, the Raleigh store owned by Nancy Olson, has taken
    the extra step of putting together in-store events to take advantage
    of the publicity and address the issues. Tomorrow, August 28, Quail
    Ridge will host a panel comprised of local university professors, a
    liberal Methodist minister and president of the conservative John
    Locke Foundation.

    And on September 7, Sells will appear at Quail Ridge, as part of a
    fundraiser for the Common Sense Foundation, a progressive public
    policy think tank in Raleigh. Olson commented of Sells’s decision to
    visit her store when he was in Raleigh, “Isn’t it interesting he would
    want to come to an independent, instead of one of the many chain
    stores in town?”

    Carl Ernst, the North Carolina professor (and author of Shambhala’s
    Guide to Sufism) who initiated the selection, called the book “the
    best of Muslim scriptures available in English.” But the Christian
    fundamentalist Family Policy Network charged “forced Islamic
    indoctrination” and asked for a temporary restraining order requiring
    the school to stop distributing the book.

    The order was rejected by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in
    Richmond, Va., last week. State assistant attorney general Celia Lata
    defended the charges against the school, stating, “A university that
    exposes students only to what they already know or believe would not
    equip them to live in the world.”–Bob Summer

More on the controversy here.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted,, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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