Thursday, August 12, 2010

Barnes and Noble Woo Books

Because I'm drawn to less-than-full-price books like, well, a thrifty book addict to inexpensive books, I've perused the Bargain Book shelves at Barnes and Noble easily a hundred times since they opened stores in the area. But until my most recent visit, I'd never noticed how many of the bargain books are no real bargain because they promote the irrational duo: woo and religion.

OK. I had noticed the Bargain Book section that "Religion" has all to itself before. How could I miss it, even if I wanted to? But while I'd scanned the other sections on earlier visits, my eyes--and brain--seem to have passed over the woo books as if they weren't there so they could home in on more rational books. Or at least more rational books that were being marketed as non-fiction.

But this time I focused on the titles of all the books in the "Mind and Body" Section and found a what seemed to me to be a disproportionate number of woo books on sale. Among them:
  • The Feng Shui Dictionary
  • Reflexology Basics
  • Parkers' Astrology
  • Healing with Crystals and Chakra Energy
  • Crystals and Healing Stones
  • Reflexology: A Hands-on Approach to Your Health and Well Being
  • Feng Shui Home
  • The Tarot Workbook
On the maybe a little-bit-positive side, at least these books weren't selling at full price. On the negative side: the fact that they were being sold at all, and even if they were no longer full price, gullible readers will waste their money on nonsense, and perhaps, end up believing in its validity.

To help cleanse my mind after wading through the woo goo, I bought these books, also in the Bargain section:
  • The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature by Steven Pinker
  • The Illustrated A Brief History of Time/The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking

1 comment:

  1. I feel you. I have had the exact same thought in two of my neighborhood B&N (Inner Harbor, and the Hopkins Homewood campus). I am slowly losing all "faith" in the intellectual capabilities of humanity. Let me point you to a recent discussion thread on Nature Network blogs: (

    Caveat! A lot of it is woo-tastic, but knowing you, I think you may even enjoy the pow-wow.