Taxonomy matters

It is my mission to correctly re-shelve books to the appropriate section of the bookstore. 

For example, "Darwin’s Black Box", the famous psuedo-science book by the non-evolutionary non-scientist Michael Behe,
should not be in the "Evolutionary Biology" section, but something more
appropriate, such as "New Age", "Religion", "Christianity", or even
"Fiction".  You get the idea.

Here is more, and the pointer is from the newlywed Jacqueline Passey.


I am a college student who also works part-time in a mega-chain bookstore--and a big fan, and a first time writer.

The sections that books are assigned to are decided by the home office. We just got the ability to submit proposed corrections to the mothership, but they must be approved by the higher-ups, and must be fairly egregious circumstances [like a sex book marked as "Crosswords"].

Also, every four to six weeks we scan every book in the store and resort it based on where the computer says it goes. Putting your favorite books in other sections makes it harder for us to find and sell them; when we look up a book, we go where the computer tells us where to find it, and if it's not there we usually assume it's an inventory error or something.

Just though I'd share--love the blog!

Semi-Off Topic:

I think that this post by the aforementioned Jacqueline Passey on her searching for healthcare for herself and figuring out what to offer her employees should be "mandatory" reading for those nonlibertarians who like to mandate to other people things that they are in favor of, especially health insurance.

What an asshole. How would he like it if some dumbass went into his office and moved things around randomly? Of course he could care less about the little people who are the B&N employees, who will have to 1) deal with annoyed customers who can't find the books, 2) reshelve the books when they come across them, and 3) order extra copies of the book that they will then realize they never needed. Sure, it'll be more work for them, but hey, he got a blog post out of it.

I found Easterly's book, The White Man's Burden on the anthropolgy section....

I was looking in the psychology section for Daniel Gilbert's book and I couldn't find it so I asked and sure enough it was (mis)filed in the self help section. That annoyed me, because I find looking for a book in the self help section to be irrationally embarrassing.

Michael Foody - perhaps there's a self-help book for your problem?

I've not actually re-shelved books in a bookstore, but I was awfully tempted to refile all the books at Cody's about Marxism into "religion".

The thing that made me want to do some re-shelving at Borders the other day was seeing that slimy, smug, snake-oil salesman Kevin Trudeau's smarmy, laughing-all-the-way-to-the-bank grin looking at me from the cover of his latest steaming pile of verbal manure. I tried to move it off the "New Nonfiction" shelf but when I couldn't find the "Frauds and Scams" section I gave up.

Brian Courts,

You have two options if you want to attack someone: attack his work on its merit, or attack him by name-calling and character attacks. Jacqueline Massey chose the latter when she started calling him names and never addressed the former, which is why I pointed out that he is very much an accredited scientist. He has his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, did a Post-Doc at the National Institutes of Health when Carter was President, and has worked as a scientist for almost 30 years. He has the bona fides of a scientist and Ms. Passey's insults were ridiculous. Just because Tyler and Alex differ with Hetero-Dox economists they do not go around slandering them and I consider this sort of attack beneath the character of this blog. Now, on to his work. He asserts that the human cell is too complex at the biochemical level to have been the result of evolutionary mechanisms. This is not testable scientifically any more than most evolutionary theories about the origin of organic matter are. Feel free to disagree with it all you want, I just to not like it when disagreement turns into character attacks, that is more within the realm of Dailykos or Lou Dobbs.

I'd love to move all Krugman books and An Inconvenient Truth to 'Fiction'. ;-)

Lighten up, this vigilante reshelving was funny.

Thanks for the link Tyler.

I guess no one has noticed how badly conservative books are treated.

If bookstore employees find that I'm creating more work for them, they might consider getting it right themselves to begin with.

How childish.

This is the kind of thing that has made "liberal" synomymous with "pretentious jerk".

Having read Behe's book, I can say that it isn't a standard creationist/ID philosophical book - i.e. one that spends most of its time talking about Darwin's being a lapsed unitarian, etc. It also doesn't make the case for ID in sweeping arguments that are commonly encountered in newspaper editorial pages. Instead, the book's argument is that, knowing how biochemistry works, we can be more specific in what one means by evolution, and much more precise about how to make statements concerning the associated "probabilities."

The book is written in biochemical jargon that's more technical than evolution books written for popular audiences (ex. A River out of Eden or The Blind Watchmaker). That's the element of the book that garnered all the attention.

The concern among mainstream academic biologists is that by having these sorts of books in the biology section of the bookstore, it can create the popular understanding that there is some sort of academic debate about the feasibility of evolution. And also, they find it quite tedious that someone comes up with a bunch of technical points to respond to. And, as the saying goes, lies reach halfway around the world before the truth gets its pants on.

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