I really can't see the value in using profanity in anything sold in the public domain, unless it has the authors making a beeline for the nearest confessional.

Publishing used to be a gentleman's profession. But the trend of using profanity in titles — already common in pop songs and even on Broadway — has now spread to books.

In the past year there have been three songs on Billboard's Hot 100 chart with the f-word in the title. Chris Rock starred in the Broadway play The Mother------ With the Hat. And now publishing is awash with best sellers whose unprintable titles are, for the most part, being coyly disguised by asterisks and other symbols over select vowels on the jackets. They include:

•S--- My Dad Says by Justin Halpern. Originally a Twitter feed, the book became a CBS series that was canceled in May. It peaked at No. 9 on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list.

•A------- Finish First by Tucker Max. Peaked at No. 14.

•Go the ---- to Sleep by Adam Mansbach, illustrated by Ricardo Cortes, a parody of a children's book directed at adults. Peaked at No. 6.

•Out this week: If You Give a Kid a Cookie, Will He Shut the ---- Up? ($14.99) by Marcy Roznick, a parody, aimed at adults, of the 1985 children's book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie ….