In response to Sherman Alexie’s decision to cancel an appearance at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville and concerns that more cancellations of author tours could follow as a result of North Carolina’s recent passage of HB2, the so-called Charlotte bathroom law, a group of book and author organizations are calling on authors not to punish North Carolina booksellers.

“We urge all authors and illustrators as well as their publishers not to boycott North Carolina bookstores,” wrote the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers, the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom, the Children’s Book Council, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance in a joint statement. “Many independent booksellers opposed HB2 in the legislature and are actively seeking its repeal. In addition, they have a long history of fighting efforts to censor books with LGBTQ themes.”

The groups note that 269 children’s book authors and illustrators recently issued an open letter in which they promised that “we will never abandon our thousands of readers in North Carolina.” The authors assured readers that they will continue to visit schools and libraries, but did not refer to bookstores.

“The punishment for passing HB2 should fall on the governor and state legislators, not on booksellers who play a vital role in promoting tolerance and diversity,” the statement concluded.