As you might expect, the six Dr. Seuss children's books that are now out of print due to complaints about racist imagery in their pages are now collectors' items.
And they're commanding a pretty penny if you want your very own copies — or if they're hiding in storage somewhere and you want to cash in.
The titles in question are "If I Ran the Zoo," "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street," "McElligot's Pool," "On Beyond Zebra!," "Scrambled Eggs Super!" and "The Cat's Quizzer."
How much are they now?
Keep in mind that the following prices and their life spans are fluid. Any of the below links can change in an instant — but as of Wednesday afternoon:
- "If I Ran the Zoo" in hardback was going for $995 at its lowest price on Amazon; no paperbacks were available. On eBay, a decent-looking hardback copy was going for a low "buy it now" price of $200 — all the way up to $9,999. (There also was a copy going for $1 million, believe it or not.)
- "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street" in hardback was going for $1,399 at its lowest price on Amazon; no paperbacks were available. On eBay, a decent-looking hardback was going for a low "buy it now" price of $150, while the most expensive "buy it now" hardback was $100,000.
- How about "McElligot's Pool"? Well, the lowest price for a collectible hardback was $999 on Amazon (while the paperback was only $349.99). On eBay, the lowest "buy it now" price for a decent-looking hardback was $275, while the highest price was $10,000.
- A hardback copy of "On Beyond Zebra!" was going for $1,800 at its lowest price on Amazon; no paperback available. On eBay, a decent-looking hardback was going for a low "buy it now" price of $450 — all the way up to $8,000.
- As for "Scrambled Eggs Super!" a hardback copy was going for $999 at its lowest price on Amazon; no paperback available. On eBay, a decent-looking hardback was going for a low "buy it now" price of $350 — all the way up to $12,000 for a copy signed by Dr. Seuss himself!
- And "The Cat's Quizzer"? A hardback was going for $995 at its lowest price on Amazon; no paperback available. On eBay, a decent-looking hardback was going for a low "buy it now" price of $475 — all the way up to $1,500.
And for the one-stop shopper, there's an eBay listing featuring all six out-of-print titles for the cool "buy it now" price of $5,200. Get 'em while they're hot.
What's the background?
Dr. Seuss Enterprises issued its statement Tuesday — aka Read Across America Day, which traditionally has coincided with Dr. Seuss' birthday — that it would be discontinuing the titles.
"Today, on Dr. Seuss's Birthday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises celebrates reading and also our mission of supporting all children and families with messages of hope, inspiration, inclusion, and friendship," the company said before adding "to that end" it would be "ceasing publication and licensing" of several of the titles.
The company's statement added that "these books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong" and that "ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises's [sic] catalog represents and supports all communities and families."
Dr. Seuss's stepdaughter Lark Grey Dimond-Cates told Fox Business she hopes the publishing house will eventually start reprinting the books, "because his body of work is unique."
Dr. Seuss, or Theodor Seuss Geisel, wrote dozens of books over the course of his famed career, many of which have been translated into numerous languages and are still sold in more than 100 countries, the AP noted. Geisel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904, and died in 1991, but he still remains popular today. In 2020, Geisel posthumously earned an estimated $33 million before taxes.
But in 2017, after a Massachusetts school librarian rejected a gift of Dr. Seuss books from then-First Lady Melania Trump, saying they "are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes," Dr. Seuss books have fallen out of favor among many in progressive circles.
The books are accused of portraying black people, Asians, and other minority demographics in troubling ways, and many school districts across the country have moved away from using the books in their curricula.
Neither the company statement nor an Associated Press report cited specific examples from any of the discontinued titles. However, a study published in 2019 that examined "orientalism, anti-blackness, and white supremacy" in Dr. Seuss books purportedly found that 43 out of the 45 characters of color in the books were either stereotypical or otherwise offensive.