Banned Books Week

For thirty years the American Library Association has celebrated the freedom to read during Banned Books Week.  And while we all value the freedom of expression and the right to seek out information however unorthodox or unpopular, we also know that, at least in the legal publishing industry, some things really should be banned, right?

That’s right, some things really should be banned. Especially in the legal publishing industry. Here is a short list. If you think of any more, please feel free to share them with us all.

1. Legal treatises that use a famous but deceased person’s name in the title.  Examples include Wigmore on Evidence, Colliers on Bankruptcy,  and Appleman on Insurance. Each of these titles has at least three spin-off copy cat titles by different authors with names like New Wigmore… and Holmes’ Appleman, or Appleman Library Edition.  Naming your book after a famous dead author is a shameless  attempt to cash in on someone else’s name. Its like naming your band The Beetles. Ban it.

2. Loose leaf sets that include supplemental pamphlets. Hello! It’s a looseleaf set! Adding bound volumes to a looseleaf set is a pricing gimmick. Ban it.

3. Looseleaf sets that change editions. Again, it’s a looseleaf set. There is no need to bring out a new edition  of a looseleaf set other than to boost the cost  – another pricing/packaging/marketing gimmick. Ban  it.

4. Putting one title on the cover of a book and another title on the title page. The Law of Wills by Page is often referred to as Page on Wills because that’s what it says on the spine. This confuses the library users and the librarians. Ban it.

5. Using a popular title that does not appear on the book at all. This is closely related to number 4  above and is best exemplified by Wright and Miller. The real title of this work is Federal Practice and Procedure. The naming confusion is more user driven than publisher driven but it’s still confusing. Ban it.

These views are my own and are not necessarily held by the staff of the Jameson Law Library.

Photo credit: nataliesap via photo pin cc

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