UK publishers have decided to begin age-banding their books. This means that children's and young adult books will be banded with an age level that is supposed to proclaim the appropriateness of the book for a certain age group. Books will bear a scarlet letter, declaring them fit for only those 10 +, 12+, and so on. Authors are outraged and claim that this will hurt sales and keep children from reading more challenging books, but the publisher's believe it will increase sales by directing parents to books that are at their child's age-level.
At the crux of this argument is the control that publisher's have over writers and censorship. With book-banding, publishers can now squeeze authors into tight boxes and dictate an age level at which to write. They will have margins for every age-level that will have to be met. They will be able to control content, language, voice, and vocabulary. It is a very dangerous concept, and don't think that this will end in UK. Major world-wide book publishers are leading this charge--Harper Collins, Scholastic, etc. This WILL be coming to the United States.
If you'd like to learn more about this issue and read some author's essays on the subject please read Darren Shan's essay at Soapbox and this Telegraph article about Bill Pulman's fight against the bands. If you would like to add your voice to those who are protesting, please visit: http://www.notoagebanding.org/ to sign the petition.