By Mark S. Kenna
Dec. 6, 2013. The recent challenge to remove “The House of the Spirits” from Watauga High School has piqued the community’s interest in the book and causing an increase in sales since mid-October.
In September, Black Bear Books only possessed two to three copies of the “The House of the Spirits.” Since mid-October, Black Bear Books has sold a total of twenty copies between in store sales and special orders, Mary Prewitt, manager of Black Bear Books, said.
“We cannot keep them on the book shelf,” Prewitt said.
Black Bear Books started to carry “The House of the Spirits” in February as per a request from Watauga High School.
The Appalachian State University bookstore has ordered 48 copies of the book since the challenge in October. It is currently out-selling Ender’s Game and the Harry Potter series.
“It was our best selling book of November,” Bill Pillow, manager of the general books section of the ASU bookstore, said. “We have sold close to 40 copies, which for us is definitely a good thing.”
A book is doing well if it hits double digits in sales every week, Pillow added.
Pillow speculates that the book will continue to sell with the same strength through the spring 2014 semester. The university bookstore carries “The House of the Spirits” as a textbook for a world literature course. But the recent challenge has them ordering the book on a weekly basis to keep up with the demand for it.
“That’s one of the ironic things about a book challenge,” Pillow said. “It makes the book more popular for readers. There is no such thing a bad publicity for a book.”
At the Watauga County Library, there are sixteen holds on the book, but no one has put a hold on the book at Appalachian State’s Anne Belk Library.
The second level review committee selected to consider the literary value of the book will have their second meeting Thursday Dec. 12, 2013. Depending upon the decision of the committee Chastity Lesesne, the parent who appealed to challenge the book, can opt to appeal for the final time, in which the book would go to the Watauga County Board of Education.
For more background on this issue, see the following stories.