UPDATE: After receiving major social media backlash, Barnes & Noble has decided to pull its Diverse Editions campaign, which was in partnership with Penguin Random House.
February 5 not only observes World Read Aloud Day—a global celebration for little bibliophiles—but it also marks some changes for NYC's largest bookshop.
Barnes & Noble Fifth Ave has joined forces with Penguin Random House and TBWA\Chiat\Day\New York to present a reimagined collection of classic young adult books. In an effort to make literature an inclusive experience, the following titles have been recreated with new diverse covers:
Alice in Wonderland
Romeo and Juliet
The Secret Garden
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The Wizard of Oz
Throughout Black History Month, these limited-edition Diverse Edition offerings will be on view in the storefront windows and available for purchase. Plus, illustrators in the making can upload their own designs to the store website for a chance to be featured in the display. For those who can't make it to the shop to secure a copy of these titles, there's an opportunity to download and print a copy of the covers online for free. When the month is over, the remaining books will be donated to local schools in the tristate area.
Upon its announcement, the effort has been met with both praise and criticism. The bookstore will also host an event, Diverse Editions Launch & Panel Discussion this Wednesday from 6–8pm. While the event is free, interested attendees must RSVP online. Visit Barnes & Noble online for more information.