Floridians claim more than 16K books from Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

(Image from Ripley’s website)

Escambia County Public Schools flagged and removed over 1,600 titles from its school library shelves for review after Florida lawmakers passed an education bill last year restricting student access to certain types of materials.

The flagged books included dictionaries, encyclopedias and reference books, including three titles from the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! series.

In response to the pulling of its books, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! issued a notice that it would gift one of their annual books to every Floridian who wanted one free of charge, and Floridians responded in mass.

As of March 2, which was Read Across America Day, Ripley’s had received more than 16,500 requests for a book.

“We want to thank the educators, parents, authors, fans, and everyone who has participated so far,” said Ryan DeSear, Vice President of Attraction Operations and Technology, in a press release. “Our mission has always been to entertain and educate. Ripley’s books open doors to diverse cultures, untold stories, and unbelievable people, creating awareness about the incredible world around us.”

Ripley’s, which got started in 1918 as a daily newspaper cartoon — which is still in print today, is a family entertainment company with more than 100 attractions in 10 countries around the world, including three in Florida, featuring Ripley’s Believe It or Not! odditoriums, Guinness World Records attractions, aquariums, wax museums, traveling shows and miniature golf.

“The very idea of banning these books is worthy of entry to Ripley’s Believe It or Not!,” DeSear said in a separate release last month. “Ironically, Escambia County officials are practically authoring our next book for us! While Ripley’s response to this issue is a bit tongue-in-cheek, we very much encourage all Florida residents to claim their free copy and decide for themselves.”

Ripley’s is continuing its banned book giveaway through May 15. Ripley’s next edition, “Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Dare to Discover,” goes on sale Sept. 10. Florida residents participating in Ripley’s giveaway will receive an exclusive discount on this title.

For more information and to request your own copy of a Ripley’s book, go to Ripleys.com/general/floridabooks.

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