BEAVER CREEK, Colorado — The Steamboat Institute canceled its book sales at last weekend’s annual Freedom Conference after a bookseller refused to offer a title critical of the Green New Deal.
At the center of the dispute was “Green Fraud: Why the Green New Deal is Even Worse Than You Think,” released in March and written by Marc Morano, publisher of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow’s Climate Depot website.
Steamboat Institute CEO and Chairwoman Jennifer Schubert-Akin said organizers concluded that “either you’re going to sell all of our books, or you’re going to sell none of our books.”
“Steamboat Institute is traditionally proud to partner with local bookstores to sell the latest compelling books by Freedom Conference speakers at the event,” she said in a statement. “Yet we will never allow partner bookstores to censor by picking and choosing which speaker books they sell based on their political preferences. We look forward to working with local bookstores committed to robust and open debate at our future events.”
Conference attendees who brought their own books were still able to have them signed by authors featured at the event.
Off the Beaten Path, the Steamboat Springs bookstore, declined to comment on its refusal to offer “Green Fraud,” but Mr. Bruneau cited an email from the company saying it was unwilling to be “associated with a title that disputes the reality of climate change.”
“They said, ‘Look, Colorado’s wildfires, we can’t sell this, we can’t give credence to this belief,’” Mr. Bruneau said. “So Jennifer said, ‘We don’t support censorship, we can’t accept your services.’ They still wanted to come but they wouldn’t sell that one book.”
He added that it was “disappointing in the sense that it missed out on an opportunity to make some profit, and for the attendees.”
Ironically, censorship was one of the topics at the 13th annual conference, which included panels and speakers discussing the battles over conservative content in social media, publishing and academia.
Mr. Morano, who spoke at the conference, said the flap over his book was “no surprise.”
“Climate activists have been gunning for me for years,” said Mr. Morano. “Any dissent is seen as an assault on their messaging. A one-party state view must be imposed!”
He said that activists have pressured Amazon to remove the book from its website, so far without success, prompting an offer from conservative author and pundit Mark Steyn, who wrote the book’s introduction.
“Mark Steyn has offered to sign any copy of ‘Green Fraud’ that you buy on steynonline.com,” Mr. Morano said. “This is literally about free speech.”
Mr. Morano is not the first to lock horns with progressive booksellers.
Earlier this year, Powell’s Books in Portland drew headlines for refusing to stock “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy” by local journalist Andy Ngo. Even so, the bookstore was beset by protesters upset with its decision to offer the title online.
Mr. Bruneau said that other bookstores contacted by the institute were unable to staff the conference due to labor shortages.
“There were a couple we contacted that wouldn’t make a staff member available to be here because of the expanded unemployment benefits,” he said. “Everyone’s going through staffing shortages right now. That was another hurdle we had. We hope next year we can get a bookseller back.”
The Steamboat conference, held at the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek, Colorado, drew 370 attendees, the largest in its history.
The Steamboat Institute promotes “limited taxation and fiscal responsibility; limited government; free market capitalism; individual rights and responsibilities, and strong national defense.”