Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2021
Online marketplace eBay Inc. said it is working to prevent the resale of six Dr. Seuss books that were pulled earlier this week by the company in charge of the late author’s works because they contain offensive imagery.
“EBay is currently sweeping our marketplace to remove these items,” a spokeswoman for the company said in an email. New copies of the six books were no longer for sale online at major retailers such as Barnes & Noble on Thursday afternoon, which put eBay among the most prominent platforms for the books to be sold.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises LP, which oversees Dr. Seuss’s publishing interests and ancillary areas, Tuesday said it had decided that six of the famed author’s books—“And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”; “If I Ran the Zoo”; “McElligot’s Pool”; “On Beyond Zebra!”; “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer”—would no longer be published because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
After the announcement, one woman said she listed two titles, “On Beyond Zebra!” and “McElligot’s Pool,” for sale on eBay on Wednesday. Later that day, she said, she received an email from eBay explaining that “On Beyond Zebra!” had been removed from sale because it violated eBay’s “offensive material policy.” The second title was pulled Thursday morning, she said.
“Dr. Seuss Enterprises has stopped publication of this book due to its negative portrayal of some ethnicities,” said the email message from eBay, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “As a courtesy, we have ended your item and refunded your selling fees, and as long as you do not relist the item, there will be no negative impact to your account.”
Some copies of all six discontinued titles remained available for sale from third-party sellers on Amazon.com Inc. A spokeswoman for Amazon declined to comment.
Amazon last week faced questions from Republican senators after it removed a book about transgender issues that had been on sale on the platform for about three years. Amazon didn’t comment on the senators’ letter but said it reserved the right not to sell certain titles based on its content guidelines for books.