Dirty Dozen List 2014 - Barnes and Noble header

The Problem

[Original 2014 description]

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 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.

WARNING: There are graphic images and text descriptions shown in these sections.


News Story

News Story

  • 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. Note: The original story & video was removed from the local news website previously linked here.
  • 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.
  • February 12, 2014 – NCOSE 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.
  • Barnes & Noble has sold child erotica for years. Despite the fact that these books by David Hamilton and Jock Sturges have been found in the possession of many pedophiles over the years, B&N refuses to stop selling them. Note: the listing of books previously linked here has since been removed from the B&N website.
  • Chicago Tribune: “Porn or art? Barnes & Noble was indicted on child…” – Alabama case against B&N for child porn/child erotica

Take Action

Pressure the DOJ to Enforce Obscenity Law

Public Health Harms of Pornography

Download the research summaries of studies on the harm of pornography

Tell DOJ to Investigate SeekingArrangement

Ask the DOJ to investigate SeekingArrangement for facilitating sex trafficking and prostitution.


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