This book display is confirmed by snopes.com and the resulting apology by Mary Ellen Keating, Barnes & Noble spokesperson. She claims the book display was more than likely the result of a customer prank.
From snopes.com, here is the apology:
Barnes & Noble would like to publicly apologize for an incident in our Coral Gables, Florida store. We believe that a customer played a cruel joke and placed an inappropriate title ("Monkeys") in the front window of our store, where we were featuring books written by or about President Obama. We want to assure our customers that the book placed by someone other than any of our booksellers was never intended to be included in our display and was removed as soon as we became aware of the situation. We are looking into it and taking the steps necessary so that it does not happen again. From time to time customers will move titles from one area of the store to another. In this particular case, we don not condone whatever message may have been intended with the placement of this title in our Presidential display. It certainly was not part of our merchandising and we regret that we didn't see the placement of this title immediately.
plezWorld received an e-mail with the above photo and a plea to boycott Barnes & Noble.
plez sez: there are some sick people out there and even as a prank, this sinks to a level of depravity that is simply appalling.
boycott the store?!? hmmm, that may be a bit extreme. they did correct the display and they did issue an apology. i'm not aware of a pattern of this behavior and it appears that this was an isolated incident. it is my hope that barnes & noble puts the proper controls in place to reduce the likelihood of this type of "merchandising" making its way into the public eye in the future.
The blogosphere is abuzz with this story:
Read the Urban Legends article about Barnes & Noble and the "Monkey" book.
Read the CNN iReport article about the offensive book display at Barnes & Noble.
Read the SandraRose article about the Barnes & Noble display.
Read the Hip Hop Blips article about the apology for the offensive display.