An open letter to Jeff Bezos and all @Amazon about To Train Up A Child

Jeff Bezos

Dear Jeff,

I hope you don’t mind me contacting you like this but there’s something you ought to know.

There’s this book called To Train Up A Child which your website Amazon is selling and… well. I don’t think you should be selling it.

You’re a father to four children. You know kids right? They’re awesome things. I’m a father to two and they mean the world and beyond to me. To see them hurt or upset breaks my heart. And to see any child in distress or upset gets me in a place I never knew before they came into this world. I’m sure you must feel the same.

Which is why I’m going to ask you a very simple question. Please remove this book from your website. Please don’t ally yourself to this.. Here are a few reasons why.

This book advocates ‘training’ your child by using a switch, and, if you don’t know what a switch is and why it should be used, the book says:

‘Toward understanding the nature of a child, a knowledge of the presence of guilt is essential in the application of chastisement. A spanking (whipping, paddling, switching, belting) is indispensable to the removal of guilt in your child. His very conscience (nature) demands punishment.’

So. That’s what a switch is. Something to beat your child with.

Not your hand though. You shouldn’t use your hand, and the book explains why alternatives should be sought under the section Instruments of Love.

‘Select your instrument according to the child’s size. For the under one year old, a little, ten- to twelve-inch long, willowy branch (striped of any knots that might break the skin) about one-eighth inch diameter is sufficient. Sometimes alternatives have to be sought. A one-foot ruler, or its equivalent in a paddle, is a sufficient alternative. For the larger child, a belt or larger tree branch is effective.’

In one section the book advocates ‘switching’ a 7 month old baby that’s having a tantrum. It also suggests that, should a nursing mother find a baby biting when feeding, that the baby’s hair be pulled in order to train it not to do this.

Training. This book talks about training your child as one might train a ‘stubborn mule’ And as a father I’m sure you’d agree with me when I say that this isn’t the right way to view children.

I don’t think this is acceptable at all. Do you?

Actually, maybe you’ve already answered that question. Your own website in its Kindle Direct Publishing section talks about Content Guidelines and states:

‘Offensive Content: What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect.’

I would expect that the contents of this book be viewed as offensive. And I’m not the only one. My previous blog post ‘What can we do?’ asked people to tweet @Amazon saying;

Dear @amazon please REMOVE this offensive book advocating beating children from your website. http://www.amazon.co.uk/To-Train-Up-Child-children/dp/1892112000#_

RT if you agree.

And judging by my Twitter feed today a few hundred other people do agree. And if people want to keep doing so then I urge them to. It might get your attention.

As mght me drawing your attention to two petitions asking for this book, and others to be withdrawn. This petition has over 16,000 supporters and this one, talking specifically about the above mentioned book has over 1,500 names. That’s over 17,000 people who feel that this should be removed from sale. Please feel free to sign these petitions. Would be good to see your name on them.

So what’re we gonna do about this? What are you going to do about this?

You see Jeff, I could cite more examples in this book. A lot more. Having read it now I feel able to say that my first thoughts were correct. This book advocates violence against children. It actively suggests it. And the story mentioned in the previous post shows how a girl was ‘trained’ to death as a result of this book, which was probably purchased via your website.

This isn’t a debate about free speech or censorship. This is an issue surrounding the safeguarding and protection of children. I’m asking that you remove this book from sale through Amazon. I’m asking that you do so because to sell a book which encourages violence toward any child is morally wrong. It could also be illegal but I’ll check with my rather awesome legal expert on that issue.

The NSPCC in the UK have said;

‘This publication has previously been brought to the attention of the NSPCC. Having been in touch with Amazon in the past in regards to the removal of this product, ultimately we have been unsuccessful, and as such Amazon have continued to stock this product.
The NSPCC advise that anyone wishing to complain about the product do so by going directly to Amazon. Hopefully with enough complaints Amazon will withdraw the product.’

And so I’ll continue to bug you about this until something is done. Until this book is removed from your website.

Surely it’s now time to do the decent thing. If your site offers this book, and a gift-wrapped option at that which made me a little bit sick, it shows that you’re putting profit above doing the right thing. That’s not cool.

The subtitle of this book is ‘Turning the hearts of the fathers to the children’ and so let’s do that eh? Man to man, father to father, please just remove this item for sale. Lets turn our hearts to the children, and save any more from being treated in such an abhorrent way and spare them any physical abuse.

You know what to do next. Pull it from sale. And let me know when you have. Got my eyes on you Jeff. I’m watching and waiting for you to do the decent thing. Just email me at adadcalledspen@gmail.com when you’ve done it.

Many thanks in advance for your co-operation.

Yours Sincerely,

@ADadCalledSpen

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39 responses to “An open letter to Jeff Bezos and all @Amazon about To Train Up A Child

  1. I feel sick. I can’t even believe this books exists. It tells you what implement to pick to hit a baby?!
    Great post though Spencer i hope something comes of it and it is removed asap.

  2. Can a petition be set up to show them how many people disagree? Including those not on twitter.
    Perhaps we can all go to review the book and highlight it’s sick and dangerous nature in the reviews?? Could that shove them towards removal?

    • I’ve spent 13yrs in council care, being punished for things I didn’t do & I’m still left with scars after all these years. Get rid of the book!

      • The ideas in this book are beyond ridiculous. Children should be nurtured and loved, to develop into responsible adullts with their own thoughts and opinions. Makes me so angry…

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  5. Having been regularly beaten with a riding crop as a small child for getting dirty I find it absolutely abhorant that anyone can write/agree with such a book. The mental scars I have been left with in adulthood are horrific.

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  9. Surely any book that advocates violence against children and little babies should NEVER HAVE BEEN PRINTED, let alone be on sale. This is disgusting! I feel sick and truly saddened. An American friend said that two children recently DIED as a result of following this insane rubbish. Sick, sick, sick.

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  12. Over here in the US, a lot of us have been trying to get this piece of garbage off Amazon–no luck.
    I wanted to answer the question of some as to how the book could be printed, much less sold? The answer is: the author & his equally appalling wife print it themselves, & sell it on their website. Many booksellers refuse to sell it, but Amazon keeps hanging on. (See me, frustrated, banging my head on the wall here).
    I hope so much that you get this vileness off the market in the UK!! A lot of us are rooting for you all.

    • Thanks for your comment. Yep. Amazon do keep on with this and don’t listen but the fact that three retailers have now made a stand is a good thing. I hope this convinces Amazon to do the right thing.

      Thanks for your comment and thanks for reading.

      • Thank YOU, sir!! Your advocacy for little children is great to see.
        I am so glad that other dealers are getting rid of this wicked, wicked book.

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