In Support of One Bookshelf

I was aware of the controversy going on in regards to the Tournament of Rapists soon after it began.  I watched with interest at such a horrible product and I wondered how One Bookshelf would respond.  I was pleased to see them respond the way that I did and very, very disappointed to see a response asking us to send a message deploring their infringement of the right to free speech.

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Logo of DriveThruRPG

Well, straight after using the emails that were supplied by this post to send a message of support to One Bookshelf I have come back to the site to also publicly support the actions of One Bookshelf.  Free Speech gives you the right to say what you want but that does not mean that One Bookshelf must support your vile products if they do not feel it is the right image for their store.

We here in Australia do not have free speech.  It is not protected by our laws and we have no such Bill of Rights, but I do understand that these laws do not force One Bookshelf to put stock on their virtual shelves that they do not want.  I personally find the “call to arms” to express your distaste at the ignorance of the laws that you think allow you to force others to do your will.  I do like the comment in the blog I read that suggests that they are not calling on a boycott, and by doing so puts the idea in the heads of the juveniles that thinks a product about Rape and Rape culture is OK.

And if you think that it is then OK to spread this to social media as if you are somehow in the right and not expect a backlash of support from those that are decent and respectful, think again.  I have no connection to One Bookshop, and in fact, one day I hope to be selling PDF’s from my own site, but I will stand up for those that are threatened for doing the right thing.

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  1. My biggest concern when I started hearing the situation was that this was going to set a precident that groups can use their weight to pressure carriers on what to not carry. Ignoring the content of the disputed book in question, it becomes one group using their force to have another product removed from market because they disagree with that book being for sale. It could be because of the content of the book, though I think without them reviewing the book it was more the presentation of the book. If they were to succeed in this battle, what is to stop this from being precident if a company wants to remove an indie publication from sale in the same retail store or online store? It may not happen, but it does give me some cause for worry.

    As for the content of the book, darker content is nothing new to RPGs, with books like Charnel Houses of Europe: The Shoah and the Book of Erotic Fantasy, as well as books for genres like modern or cyberpunk games on drug use, prostitution, explosives and so forth. Based on comments I have seen by the author of the suppliment elsewhere, it was supposedly statblocks of various NPC rapists and sadists and such for Black Tokyo that the PCs could hunt down andfight/bring to justice/whatever. The name was just the catchiest thing the author could think of. I have not reviewed the product in question, so I cannot defend the author’s claims as such, but what ever happened to judging books by covers?

    Extra Credits did an example of how roleplaying can be more than feeling heroic in its ‘review’ of Charnel Houses at, so I would hope people would at least be willing to review an item they choose to cast out to see if it actually has any redeeming value before making judgement and creating public outcry on it based on what you see on first blush. Go Set a Watchman, the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird had it branded around that Atticus was racist and some people were complaining that it ruined their childhood to see him as a racist ( and I believe there was even some requests to have it removed from shelves there too. Again, I have not read the book, so I cannot judge its value, but I don’t know if any of those giving outcry had read it or just the news reviews of it.

    Sorry for the long rant.. I just don’t want to see it become a few monolithic entities controlling what people can choose to access because they will push people around.


    1. It is a well thought out rant though and that is what I appreciate. I too have not read the book but I did read a review of someone that had, and someone that I trust.

      My problem with the issue is that people are broadly targeting people on social media to join their crusade. One Bookshop has every right just to say no to a product with no reasoning at all. They also, due to it being an automated approval process have the right to remove the product whenever they want. It is their store.

      The tactics being adopted under the “Right to free speech” group is tantamount to bully/standover tactics. If the publisher of said book wants to sell it then let them explore as many options as they can or put it on their own site, rather than target the site that said no because they have a right to.


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