More than a dozen books penned by Dr. Seuss hopped onto Amazon’s best-sellers ranking after the company that oversees the estate of the iconic children’s author said it decided to discontinue publication of six titles that “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, 13 of the top 20 best-selling books listed on Amazon in the U.S. were by Dr. Seuss.
Among those were four of the books that Dr. Seuss Enterprises said it will stop publishing and licensing: “If I Ran the Zoo” (No. 6), “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” (No. 12), “On Beyond Zebra!” (No. 19) and “Scrambled Eggs Super!” (No. 14). The surge in sales reflected a desire by fans to get copies of the now-blacklisted books.
On Amazon, three copies of the 1989 edition of “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street Hardcover” were listed at prices of $429.25, $999.99 and $10,000. A copy of “On Beyond Zebra!” was listed at $890 and two copies of “McElligot’s Pool,” which is also being pulled from print, were listed at $2,500 each.
Amid the widespread attention to Dr. Seuss and discussion of “cancel culture,” other books by the late Theodor Seuss Geisel, most of which are not in danger of being discontinued, also saw big jumps in demand.
No. 1 on Amazon’s U.S. best-sellers list was “Dr. Seuss’s Beginner Book Collection,” a compilation of five classic Seuss books; No. 2 was “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!“; No. 4 was “The Cat in the Hat“; and “Green Eggs and Ham” stood at No. 5.
Also on the chart were “Dr. Seuss’s Second Beginner Book Collection” (No. 7); “What Pet Should I Get?: (No. 9); “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” (No. 10); “Fox in Socks” (No. 13); “Horton Hears a Who!” (No 18); and “The Sneeches and Other Stories” (No. 20).
The offensive depictions in the six Dr. Seuss books in question include two monkey-like characters from “the African island of Yerka” in “If I Ran the Zoo” and a Chinese character in “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” who is drawn with stereotypically racist characteristics including a pointed hat and lines for eyes.