Looking to support Black-owned bookstores but don’t know where to start? “O, The Oprah Magazine” is here to help.
The publication, founded by TV legend Oprah Winfrey, has published a guide to Black-owned bookstores across the country on Thursday, ahead of Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday.
The guide spotlights 117 Black-owned bookshops and includes a map with illustrations representing some of them. When users click on a state, they are directed to a list of that state’s Black-owned bookshops, along with the city or neighborhood where the store is located.
The magazine also spoke with 12 Black authors about their favorite Black-owned bookstores.
“An American Marriage” author Tayari Jones praised two stores in Atlanta, which she says “could not be more different from each other.” They are Medu Bookstore and For Keeps.
According to Jones, Medu Bookstore has “any book by a Black author that you could possibly want,” and the owner, Nia Demali, is always celebrating new releases.
“I’ll never forget when I went into the store to tell her about the impending publication of my first books — and she had already heard!” Jones said.
The author’s other recommendation, For Keeps, is “a collector’s paradise.”
“When you go there, be prepared to buy something that you had no idea you couldn’t live without,” she added.
“Such a Fun Age” author Kiley Reid described how Jeannine Cook, the owner of Harriett’s Bookshop in Philadelphia, made literature a part of her protesting.
“During the recent BLM protests, Jeannine was out on the sidewalk, handing out autobiographies of Malcolm X and Harriet Tubman for free,” Reid said. “Harriett’s Bookshop is killing it, and I’m so happy that it’s only a 10-minute walk away from where I live.”
Reid also recommended Philadelphia’s Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books for having “great coffee, amazing swag, and just perfect vibes.”
Since the death of George Floyd on May 25, sales of books on race and racism have been skyrocketing. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
According to the American Booksellers Association (ABA), independent book stores are selling more books on race and racism than ever before. IndieCommerce, ABA’s e-commerce platform that supports the websites of approximately 590 independent book stores, had to have four major technological upgrades just to keep up.
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