Booksellers continue to be weighed down by CPSIA and whether to test for lead

albatrossThe debate regarding childrens’ books and CPSIA continues to be an albatross around the neck of booksellers everywhere.  According to the Wichita Eagle, a Nebraska congressman has introduced a bill (last Monday) that would exempt books from the toxic law.  He also has a position statement on books and CPSIA his official website.  While he’s clearly speaking in the interests of libraries, it seems the implications would extend to used book stores as well.

For those who don’t know, CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, and while the bill has good intentions – it seeks to protect children from harmful materials – it is a great example of the pitfalls of populist, reactionary legislation, bearing little forethought in the mad rush to pass a bill to appease current public sentiment and outcry.

5 thoughts on “Booksellers continue to be weighed down by CPSIA and whether to test for lead”

  1. Sara Lizzy Timlin says:

    I just created an online petition that urges the U.S. Congress to resolve this threat to libraries and used book sellers (and would support the Nebraska Representative’s bill). Please visit, sign and pass along the information!

  2. Sarah Natividad says:

    There was nothing “populist” about this legislation. It was written by and passed on behalf of self-appointed “consumer advocacy” groups who never bothered to check with any actual consumers whether they wanted a law to make it safe for 12 year olds to suck on their buttons. They did it to count coup on business (which they believe is evil and which they do not believe is largely made up of mom and pop small business), and their friends in Congress scratched their backs. Many of the so-called “unintended consequences,” especially the business losses, were features, not bugs, of this law.

    And now that it’s become painfully clear that the bulk of the actual consumers don’t want this law, very few politicians (and sadly even fewer of them Democrats) pay enough attention to the will of actual people to do something about it. So there is nothing “populist” about it.

  3. brendan says:

    Thanks for the insight and good points, Sarah! I’ll definitely concede that the legislation may not have been populist in and of its substance. I am pointing more to the idea that the need to react hastily was more of a populist sentiment, the news media having provoked such a crescendo of public outrage from their daily hammering of related stories at the time, that the public in turn hammered loudly on the doors of the politicians for a Want-It-Now-Fix. I think you’re right, most consumers don’t want this law now, but I do think part of the blame falls on us for being reactionary to what primetime news decided the news flavor of the moment was, rather than being patient and taking a more systemic approach to evaluating the problem and looking for real world solutions (if any at all were needed!).

    Enjoyed reading the posts on your blog related to the CPSIA debacle, and glad to see you’re taking such an active role. Keep up the great work!

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