By Louise Ure
I’ve long been a fan of unexpectedly funny warning labels. Like the one on the chainsaw, telling you which end of the saw to hold.
Or this one, for a set of small screwdrivers.
Euuwwww. Where do they get the idea they need to tell us something like this?
I’m even more appreciative of the sly warnings like this one from a U.S. clothing manufacturer in 2006.
A blogger in England recently decided that warning labels also needed to be applied to newspapers and magazines, lest the reader be taken in by a product that did not perform as expected. His suggestions included:
I’ve taken his idea of warning readers a step further: I think we need warning labels on books. Come on … you know the vast majority of Americans don’t read the depth and breadth of fiction we do. They only know the names of the books on the front table at Barnes & Noble, or the title of a book that’s been made into a movie.
We could provide a list of resources and suggestions for them, sure. But wouldn’t it be more fun to warn them away from a purchase they won’t be happy with?
In the spirit of providing this community service, I’ve prepared a set of templates you can print out in the privacy of your own home (Avery labels 5162 in the U.S. and L7651 in the U.K.) and take down to your local book palace for use.
Slap this one on any of my books, or on Karen Olson’s first series. Those half dozen readers who complained so vocally to us would have appreciated it.
Or how about this one on any of the Stieg Larsson books:
I’m personally going to stick this one on the remnant copy of a certain book when the Warner Brothers movie comes out.
And I know a small army of people who would like to print out pages of this one:
This warning label belongs on most “literary fiction”:
And I think Fran at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop might agree with me that either the Angst label or this one should be affixed to the newest James Ellroy oeuvre:
My personal favorite though, is this one: a warning to prevent heaving books across a room:
TSTL is, of course, “too stupid to live”: a character trait found all too often in amateur detective crime novels.
So go ahead. Let me know which pdfs you want. Take ‘em to the bookstore. Future readers will thank you for your work today. But I can’t promise that booksellers or librarians will.
So what about you guys? What warning labels would you like to slap across a book? I’m at the ready to make the labels for you.