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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It Was Offensive Until We Sold a Buttload of Them

posted by on September 24 at 11:00 AM

T-shirt from Sarah Utter at Buy Olympia.

The Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers’ Association introduced their “new” slogan at a recent poorly attended convention held in Colorado Springs. The term should be familiar to anyone who’s ever shopped at Urban Outfitters: Reading Is Sexy. Apparently, the words—which are the exact same words that appear on t-shirts and tote bags available for sale everywhere—are accompanied by a silhouette of a ‘sexy’ woman. No photo accompanies this story, but I hope it’s the mudflap girl, since that too would be totally original.

The best part of the story is this passage:

MPIBA president Andy Nettell, co-owner of Arches Book Company in Moab, UT, told PW that he originally objected to the design, which was first printed on stickers. “I initially didn’t think it was appropriate,” he said, “Then we sold 250 stickers in a few months. I saw it was only women who were buying them – mostly librarians – who would pick them up by the stack. That sold me and I stopped worrying about the image.”

Classy, classy mountains and plains booksellers. Always on the cutting edge.

RSS icon Comments


Reading IS sexy, isn't it? I think it is.

Posted by elenchos | September 24, 2008 11:04 AM

#1: Depends on the quality of the slash.

Posted by lusk | September 24, 2008 11:11 AM

@1 is right.

reading books is sexy. so is smarts. so is arguing. fleeing, ranting, not being able to talk about things, getting hysterical (happens w any gender, too), etc. is not.

Posted by PC | September 24, 2008 11:20 AM

am I missing something? What is offensive about this?

Posted by Ryan | September 24, 2008 12:00 PM

WTF? Have these people ever been to Reading?

Posted by RonK, Seattle | September 24, 2008 12:04 PM

i don't want to defend the slogan or the logo. but i think this guy was saying he thought it was offensive to women until women bought/picked up most of the stuff. he's not saying that selling a bunch of stuff means it mustn't be offensive. of course, his logic doesn't actually prove that it's not offensive to women, but i see what he means.

Posted by infrequent | September 24, 2008 12:19 PM

I have had this shirt for years.

Posted by city_kitty | September 24, 2008 1:04 PM

i hope Sarah Utter is getting motherfucking PAID for this, if not she should sue the pants off that whole goddamm booksellers’ ass.

Posted by josh bomb | September 24, 2008 1:07 PM

It's almost as offensive as reading the Stranger.

Actually, it's not.

Posted by uncle baggy | September 24, 2008 1:10 PM

Crazy! The above photo shows the original tshirt I designed for about 6 years ago.. I created it in response to what I found to be extremely stupid/offensive 'slogan tees' that were being marketed to teenage girls, and women, at that time.. you know, the generic 'hottie' and 'princess'/ 'mrs. timberlake', etc. I thought by that glorifying braininess/substance/nerdcore I could generate at least a bit of 'brainy girl unity' if not a laugh or two. The shirt that is being deemed 'offensive' at the Colorado Springs convention is apparently a bootleg of my design (and therefore not only a copyright infringement but also just a basic annoyance, as I'm a small-time artist selling Reading is Sexy merchandise through community-boosting/artist-supporting I'm not Target/Urban Outfitters/Hot Topic), and I'd LOVE to see what kind of graphic accompanies their version! Could it be the ubiquitous mudflap girl? The whole point of my design I whipped up at Kinko's one afternoon was to use a graphic that was not sexy in the least.. just a bit tongue-in-cheek flirtatious. Anyhow, this article just came to my attention yesterday, so I thought I'd throw in my two cents.
READING IS SEXY 4EVA! xo sarah u.
p.s. thanks josh bomb! i think i should be getting paid by this bootlegging bookseller!

Posted by Sarah U. | September 24, 2008 8:19 PM

What's sexy is a rack that big.

Posted by uh, hello | September 24, 2008 10:22 PM

i've also had this shirt for years. Sarah, your stuff on is awesome! sue the bastards, and get paid!

Posted by jen | September 25, 2008 5:46 PM

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