2014 Dirty Dozen List: Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble on the 2014 Dirty Dozen List

Why is Barnes & Noble on the Dirty Dozen List?

Most parents don’t realize that their child might be exposed to pornography at their local bookstore, but that is exactly what is happening all around the country. This Fortune 500 company, operator of 689 retail bookstores and a very active website, is a major supplier of adult pornography and child erotica. Barnes & Noble provides hundreds of free pornographic books in their Nook e-reader and sells nearly two dozen different porn magazines at most of their locations. In addition, the company sells a variety of sexually explicit photography books, such as those by Jock Sturges and David Hamilton, that are often found in the collections of pedophiles because they contain sexually arousing photographs of children.

Barnes & Noble and the Nook E-reader


Barnes & Noble can do much to improve the problem of pornography on their popular e-reader, yet to this point they refuse.

Some of the Problems:

  • Hundreds of free pornographic books are available in the library and are clumped together with children’s picture books and teen novels. Often, the covers of these erotic books in the library are very graphic, so anyone looking through the library will be exposed to such content.
  • There is no filter for the Internet browser on the Nook e-reader.
  • The only control now available on the Nooks is if one user makes an account for another (often a child) and bans all access to the Internet and to the library. So, it’s an all or nothing solution. Either the user has access to the library and is completely bombarded with pornography or the user can’t even use the library. This is a possible solution for you children, but what about teens or adults? An adult user is forced to see this.
  • Barnes & Noble often places these in and near the children’s sections of their stores.

Possible Fixes:

  • Get out of the porn business altogether!
  • Develop a filtering system to sort pornographic and abusive content from the rest. Instead of bombarding the user with porn in the current automatic opt-in system, have the default setting such that the user must choose to seek out the pornographic materials.
  • Remove Nook e-readers from the children’s sections of your stores and have a warning next to all of them that one may be exposed to harmful content if they browse the Nook in the store.

Proof of Barnes & Nobles’ Profit from Porn & Exploitation

  • January 9, 2014 – 4 year-old boy was exposed to hardcore pornography in the store at a children’s table through the Nook e-reader. Read full story here or watch video:
  • On January 13, 2014 – Barnes & Noble issued an apology for providing porn on their Nooks and claimed that they always have the “parental controls” on the in-store Nooks. See it here.
  • February 12, 2014 – Morality In Media/PornHarms.com staff visited a Barnes & Noble location in Washington, DC. After checking all 10 available Nooks, it was found that none of them had parental controls turned on and that pornography was easily accessed both in the library and the Internet browser. When the store manager was confronted, he said there was nothing he could do. See the pictures below.

Take Action Now

  • Sign this Petition to Barnes & Noble

  • Call B&N and file a formal complaint. They will definitely respond. Click here for a script and to record your findings or just call 1-800-THE-BOOK (1-800-843-2665).
  • Tweet Barnes & Noble

    Use this tweet: @BNBuzz @NookBN @BNBooks please stop pushing #porn in the #nook and in your #stores #dirtydozen #pornharms

  • Share Your Story

    If published, all stories will be shared anonymously. Click to here to submit.

  • Contact Barnes & Noble

  • Barnes & Noble Corporate address:
    122 Fifth Avenue
    New York, NY 10011
  • Distribute this handout to your friends and family and ask them to get involved.


  • Consider prohibiting you child from using a Nook e-reader and do not leave your children unattended while in a Barnes & Noble store. Regularly have conversations with your kids about possible content they might encounter and about Internet safety;
  • Complain to the manager of your local Barnes & Noble (they’ll send it up to the top). Point out where they have content and how easy it is for children to access it. Demand they move the material. Follow up with them and encourage some of your friends to join you or make separate complaints.
  • Tell your family and friends about Barnes and Nobles’ involvement in pornography. Encourage them to join these efforts and to complain to the manager when they visit their local B&N.

The Laws

Federal obscenity laws, which the U.S. Department of Justice refuses to currently enforce, prohibit distribution of hardcore, obscene pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite or hotel/motel TV and in sexually oriented businesses and other retail shops. (Learn more)

  • 18 U.S.C. 1461 Mailing obscene matter
  • 18 U.S.C. 1465 Interstate transportation of obscene matter
  • 18 U.S.C. 1466 Wholesale and retail sale of obscene matter which has been transported in interstate

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