"No Photos" Policies and Diane Duane’s "Wizards" Books

by Joey deVilla on February 23, 2006

I never understand the twisted logic of many retail stores’ “no cameras” policies. They don’t make sense within the context of a place that is open to the public, even if it’s not publicly owned.

A couple of years back, I caught heat from IKEA for taking a snapshot of some of their toys, Urban Outfitters has given me heat for seeing what I look like in a hat with a self-portrait and someone at a Home Depot once thought I was dictating prices into a portable tape recorder (I was actually talking to Cory using the then-new walkie-talkie feature of my cellphone).

The last such incident of this sort took place last summer at the Runnymede and Bloor branch of the retail book chain Chapters, where I saw my friend Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series of books on prominent display. I often carry my camera with me and decided to take a photo to send to her.

“Excuse me, sir,” said a young woman in a golf shirt with a Chapters logo, “but you’re
 not allowed to…hey, don’t I know you? You’re the guy from the party with the accordion!”

After some brief re-introductions, I told her that I knew Diane Duane and have actually met gone out drinking with both her and her husband, Peter Morwood, she decided that it would be all right — “just this once” — to take the photo. The photo’s since been sitting in my “to be blogged” folder for some time, so here it is at long last.

This is yet another preamble for yet another story that Boing Boing caught first. I thought it was still worthy of blogging since Diane is a friend and I thought it would be nice to promote her work. Cory wrote:

The first two volumes of the Feline Wizards trilogy drew a sizable

audience, but not enough to convince Diane’s publisher to pay her to

write book three. Over the years, an anxious audience has demanded a

conclusion to the series, so back in December, Diane posted an open question to her blog: would her readers support her if she finished the trilogy without a publisher?

The answer’s been a resounding yes — one reader’s even gone so far as

to offer a $1,000 matching grant to Diane toward the completion of the


For more details, see Diane’s entry about the subject in her blog, Out of Ambit.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous February 23, 2006 at 10:43 am

(chuckle) Glad my “fame”, such as it is, kept them from doing something asocial like calling the cops…

best! D.

Anonymous February 23, 2006 at 11:45 am

If Peter’s the guy I think he is, and you’ve not done this already, get him to do his spitfire impression.

It truly rules.

Anonymous February 23, 2006 at 1:05 pm

“No cameras” policy in some stores may be due to the fact that flash from camera can set off alarms. Some security systems will treat blinding of video feed from security camera in the store as “something fishy going on”.

I know LCBO has that kind of security system and they have a lot of problems with yongsters turning 19 and shooting pictures with their first bottle of booze. 🙂

Anonymous February 23, 2006 at 1:44 pm

When I worked at Virgin, a guy with a video camera took footage as he walked around, narrating what he saw, as if he were casing out the joint for future heists.

Or, he could’ve been making the world’s most boring vacation pictures, that’s also possible.

Anonymous February 23, 2006 at 5:12 pm


the kids at my school LOOOOOOOVE Diane’s books!


Anonymous February 23, 2006 at 5:27 pm

“No photos” policies make more sense in context, and that context is one where a picture is relatively expensive — in the minds of these corporate policies (all probably a decade or more old), if you’re going to use film and developer and paper to take a picture of a store, especially something unremarkable in the store, you’re probably a competitor, not a customer.

Anonymous February 24, 2006 at 10:40 am

If you want to see trouble, try taking a picture of a dress in a wedding / bridesmaid store. They are hyper-sensitive of photos because they know you will just look for the same dress cheaper at a competitor.


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