As Rabbi Student pointed out, Rabbi Slifkin's newest book, Man and Beast, is currently for sale. In his announcement, he said the following:
Note that some bookstores will receive resistance from one or two customers about their selling this book. Your support, by verbally requesting the book and thanking the store manager for stocking it, will serve to counter this resistance. In the end, the loudest customer wins. So please take the time to ask for this book in your local bookstore, and register your concern if the book is not sold.
I decided to do an informal survey of some Jewish booksellers in Brooklyn. The first one I went to was a very popular store in the heart of Midwood. I looked around the store to see if it was in stock. Not finding it, I went to a clerk.
"Hi!" I said. "I was wondering if you can help me. I'm looking for a specific book."
"Sure," he said with a smile. "What book are you looking for?"
"Man and Beast" I said with a completely straight face, without giving the author's name. I could see him stiffen as I said the name of the book. The smile disappeared from his face.
"We don't carry that." he said.
"Do you plan on carrying it anytime in the future?" I asked.
"No," came the curt reply.
I travelled around the corner to another bookstore. After not finding it on the shelves, I asked the clerk for the book. He said that he had never heard of it and went to check on his computer. After a few minutes, he found it. "It looks like an interesting book," he said. I wasn't sure if he meant it seriously or sarcastically. "A very interesting book."
"Will you be getting it in stock anytime soon?" I inquired.
"I don't think so," he said.
My third stop was at another bookseller which opened a few years ago. Looking around I found a few of Rabbi Slifkin's books (although none of the banned ones) and asked the clerk about the book. He never heard of it.
My last stop was at a store further south in Flatbush. This store had most of Rabbi Slifkin's non-banned books and even had a copy of Mysterious Creatures on the shelf. There was no sign, however, of Man and Beast. The clerk knew who Rabbi Slifkin was and was well aware of the controversy. Nonetheless, he didn't have the new book and said he wasn't sure when it would be available. However, he didn't rule out carrying it.
When the time comes, I'll probably get my copy directly from Rabbi Student. But, nonetheless, I found the reactions I got to my informal search very interesting. Maybe I'll even expand it to a few more stores in the coming days.