November 18th is International Science Fiction Reshelving Day, which attempts to fix a perceived injustice in book classification at bookstores. “When a genre fiction book is shelved as general fiction, it does a disservice…” says the FAQ. Here’s the website’s front page explanation:

Many books from our fine genre are regularly placed in the wrong section of bookstores. This not only hides the books from us, but it prevents readers of those books from discovering the rich tradition to which they belong.

On November 18th that changes. We will go to bookstores around the world and move science fiction and fantasy books from wherever they might be to their proper place in the “Science Fiction” section. We hope that this quiet act of protest will raise awareness of this problem and inspire new readers to explore our thought-provoking genre.

(November 18th is Margaret Atwood’s birthday. Get it?)

I guess I’m not as riled up about where the books are in the bookstore. And I’m not sure that readers are going to go looking in the science fiction and fantasy sections of the bookstore when they don’t find, say, Watership Down in the main fiction section. (A knowledgeable bookstore employee might think to look there.) But maybe that’s me. I’m actually surprised this isn’t swinging the other way: encourage people to put the “mainstreamy” SF/F books in the main fiction sections to broaden the SF/F readership. That’s the lament of most fans who care about classification, isn’t it?

What are your thoughts? Is this a good idea or a bad one?

Filed under: BooksEvents

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