Profanity in book titles

Avatar for cmbren
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2000
Profanity in book titles
Fri, 10-28-2011 - 10:44am

I started a discussion on this on one of the writing boards, but I also wanted to see how all of you, as readers, felt.

While most of us are familiar with profanity in songs, the profanity trend is now making a splash in book titles. Four books on USAToday's best seller list have titles that contain masked vulgarity.

St. Martin's Press executive editor Marc Resnick, who is editor of one of the books says to critics, "It's a book for adults who have heard these words. If you don't like, don't buy it. Books have a lot to compete with these days." Booksellers say the books are selling, in part, because "... people still get a little thrill out of seeing a curse word on a printed and bound book on a bookstore shelf."

So...what are your thoughts? Do you see titles of this kind as a marketing ploy or are they the wave of the future?


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-07-2008
Fri, 10-28-2011 - 12:00pm
I just quickly zoom past the word or sentence.
Community Leader
Registered: 03-18-1999
Fri, 10-28-2011 - 12:16pm

It is probably a marketing gimmick.

Community Leader - Women At Work Board
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2009
Fri, 10-28-2011 - 11:24pm
I actually don't even notice this, so I guess it doesn't bother me. It's probably a marketing ploy, but since I'm not noticing and I never buy books its not working on me lol.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2001
Sat, 10-29-2011 - 6:15am
Well I think that cursing and masked cursing in books and movies is really over-rated. Most of the time, a simple non curse word would have the same effect . I can't say though that I would not buy or read a book that had a curse word in the title. i would definitely skim thru the content of the book to see if it was just an "eye catcher" or whether the entire book follows suit, then I probably wouldn't buy it.

Since the music industry and MTV have allowed vulgar movements and profanity to practically become the norm, it would be hard to censure literature for doing the same. I guess it is more of a marketing ploy than the wave of the future. (Hope springs eternal )
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-13-2008
Sat, 10-29-2011 - 12:53pm

I'm sure that it is a marketing ploy but the only one that I've noticed lately in a title is Go The F**k To Sleep. It's a book for parents written in rhyme like a picture book. The ploy worked because I picked it up and read it and it really is quite funny.



iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2001
Sat, 10-29-2011 - 8:13pm

I guess it depends on how the word is used, and to what end. As with movies, profanity is often used for gratuitous shock value, and adds nothing to the quality of the production.

girl in chair
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2008
Sat, 10-29-2011 - 9:00pm

It all sounds like the kids I have taught who get titilated when I point out the "naughty bits" in Shakespeare, or tell them they're reading a banned book, and why it's banned...

I certainly don't seek out these books with these titles, or if I do, it's not for the profanity, but I have heard of the kids -style book, for adults, "Go the F&*k to Sleep," or something.


Avatar for grammyellen
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2007
Sun, 10-30-2011 - 7:52am

i don't care for the use of profanity. while it's in some of the books that i read i tend to skim over it like aileen.

like melissa i don't like the idea of it being out in plain sight either. children walk by bookshelves in stores and library and they should not be exposed to words and suggestions like that.


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-27-2011
Sun, 10-30-2011 - 12:19pm

It doesn't bother me but I do think it just what we are all going to have to get use to now and in the future. Any books I read I have not seen it. But I would just ignore it if it was from an author I liked and knew I would enjoy the book.

Kind of like the sex scenes in books I read..I just pass over that part

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2001
Mon, 10-31-2011 - 6:52am
Oh too funny about Lucy and Ricky... yep how times have changed.