Facebook shuts down page of Oak Park bookstore

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Book Beat in Oak Park was founded in 1982.(Photo: Book Beat)

A decade’s worth of postings about author appearances and community events disappeared suddenly for an iconic Oak Park bookstore after Facebook abruptly deleted the store’s page, leaving its founders scrambling to figure out what to do next.

Cary Loren, who founded Book Beat with his wife, Colleen Kammer, in 1982, said today he had purchased an ad Friday to promote a book-signing event when he discovered that the page was kaput. Facebook messages said Book Beat’s page was shut down over a claim it violated intellectual property rights held by another company, even though the bookstore has had its name for 35 years and had been updating the community through its Facebook page for more than 10 years.

“It just shut down, disappeared,” Loren told the Free Press today.

The bookstore posted on its web site, www.thebookbeat.com: “Suddenly, we lost over 10 years of photographs, bookstore events, history, customer contacts, comments and posts we’ve made and shared with friends of the bookstore.”

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Loren said he tried to contact Facebook to try to preserve Book Beat’s posted content – some of which included information about author appearances and other events dating to 1982 – but soon discovered the company’s notorious customer service vortex that provided no help.

“They’re kind of a black hole that’s out here, and they don’t respond,” Loren said. “It’s virtually impossible to get through to them.”

According to messages Facebook provided to the bookstore, the infringement claim was made by www.bookbeat.com, a Swedish division of the European publishing house Bonnier Publishing. Representatives from bookbeat.com and Bonnier could not be reached for comment today.

Facebook did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

The social media company has faced criticism for its handling of trademark and copyright disputes, from shutting down pages over false claims to not doing enough to prevent copyrighted material from being posted without approval or credit.

Loren said the Oak Park bookstore had tried for years to get the rights to the web domain bookbeat.com, but it was under the control of a “squatter” who wanted to charge the bookstore thousands of dollars for the rights to it. Instead, the bookstore went with www.thebookbeat.com, a domain it’s held since the 1990s.

Now, the Oak Park store’s owners are in contact with lawyers who may help them defend their legal right to the name and perhaps make a claim that they should own the copyright to Book Beat. But Loren said he’s also hoping to get access to the content the book store posted over the years on its page and have it transferred to a new page it set up in the meantime, www.facebook.com/BookBeatbookstore.

The interior of Book Beat in Oak Park.Buy Photo

The interior of Book Beat in Oak Park. (Photo: Georgia Kovanis/Detroit Free Press)

Book Beat has survived competition from mega bookstores and the e-book boom, with more than 50,000 titles stacked in its facility at 26010 Greenfield at Lincoln.

Loren said he hopes longtime customers will be understanding.

“We are asking our friends and customers to please follow and support us on the new page,” he and his wife posted on the store’s web page. “We value your friendship and patronage, and will try and keep people updated from here and there in the future.”

 

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