More retailers, Marktplaats to ban sale of anti-Semitic books
Following Bol.com’s example, Marktplaats, Libris, and Bruna will actively ban anti-Semitic books from their stores and platforms. They are working together on this initiative by the National Coordinator for Combating Anti-Semitism (NCAB), NU.nl reports. NBD Biblion, an organization that selects and describes books for libraries and schools, is also participating.
“Antisemitism is becoming increasingly visible in society, for example, through conspiracy theories,” NCAB Eddo Verdoner told the newspaper. “That underlines the need for the business community to join forces and to form a front against this together.”
It is crucial for the prominent players in the book world to work together on this front, Verdoner said. By sharing information - for example, on how to make sure a banned book doesn’t just reappear under a different title - they can better prevent the sale of anti-Semitism. Smaller book distributors can also benefit from this knowledge, he said.
Verdoner is especially pleased that Marktplaats - an online platform where individuals and companies sell all kinds of items, including books - joined the initiative. In the long term, Marktplaats can use the knowledge gained to also counter the sale of Nazi items and other anti-Semitic objects more effectively, he said.
Bruna told NU.nl that the distribution of anti-Semitic books is mainly an online problem. Banning such books from the physical stores is fairly easy, the chain of bookstores said. “But online, they often enter our webshop from abroad,” said a spokesperson. “Often via publishers that ‘clone’ themselves once in a while. Moreover, you usually can’t see from the book title that it is anti-Semitic. That makes it difficult.”
Bol.com was the first to join Verdoner’s initiative in October last year. In the three months following that, the Netherlands’ largest online store removed dozens of books because of anti-Semitic content. The company implemented a system that automatically scans the books’ descriptions for possible anti-Semitic or discriminatory keywords.
But the system is not watertight, a spokesperson said to the newspaper. “For that, someone has to manually check the entire book,” they said. “Moreover, sometimes a book seems discriminatory or anti-Semitic on the basis of the supplied description. But if you actually read the book, it is different.”