TBWA/Chiat/Day/New York/Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble is facing backlash after announcing it's promoting a list of white writers during Black History Month.

Twelve classic books are getting “diverse editions”, featuring covers designed to “champion diversity in literature”, according to the US bookstore chain.

For example, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet will feature several different covers of a man and woman kissing… but with interchangeable non-white faces.

The other titles with character who are getting similar treatment include Alice in Wonderland, Three Musketeers, Moby Dick, The Secret Garden, The Count of Monte Cristo, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Emma, The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Treasure Island and Frankenstein – all written by white authors.

The backlash was swift:

Launching the initiative, Barnes & Noble said it aimed to:

Ensure the recognition, representation, and inclusion of various multiethnic backgrounds reflected across the country.

The books are due to launch in their flagship Fifth Avenue store today.

indy100 has reached out to Barnes & Noble for comment.

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