In response to the Black Lives Matter Movement, many black-owned bookstores have seen sales skyrocket. Semi-Colon Bookstore, a black woman-owned business, has been overwhelmed with sales in the past few months. Danielle Mullen, the owner, stated that her book sales increased from 3,000 to 50,000 per week.
The success that this business is experiencing is not uncommon during this time. Many black-owned bookstore businesses are experiencing a drastic increase in book sales. As Americans begin to dig deeper into the perils of racism in our country, social media influencers encourage readers to patronize black-owned bookstores as a resource for books on racism, many of their lists including best-sellers, such as “How to Be An Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi.
While having a high demand for products can be great for business, it can also be challenging to keep up with the demand at such a fast pace, particularly for smaller, independent bookstores. With an increase in interest, orders can take time to fulfill, so many bookstore owners ask customers to be patient as they adjust to the rise and consider other titles that may not be on the best-seller list. However, they can still speak to the African-American experience.
Engaging in different genres that we might not usually be drawn to, such as science fiction, etc., allows us to engage our minds and digest information in a new way, allowing us to grow both in our creativity and critical thinking skills. It can also help us raise our emotional intelligence. As Mullen notes, “a way to be anti-racist is to be empathetic.” Seeking knowledge from multiple areas of focus, instead of just those listed as best-sellers, can help us see various perspectives and learn to view the situation from various lenses. As African-Americans, we all have unique stories with common intersections that we can use to learn and grow as we continue to strive for a more anti-racist world.
A list of black-owned bookstores to find best-sellers and other great books can be found here.
Chante’ Gamby is a writer and therapist passionate about social justice and empowering others to live their best lives. You can follow her on Facebook at Fringefam, Instagram@fringegram, or on her website, www.fringefam.com.