Bookstores across the United States are showing support for the nationwide protests over police violence against African-Americans in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a police officer who has since been arrested. Some stores are offering material support for the protests by opening their doors to provide safe haven or first aid; most store owners have asked for discretion, lest they become targeted for violence, looting or raids during the protests. Loyalty Books in Washington, D.C. and Silver Spring, Md. used their Bookshop.org site to promote a list of recommended antiracism titles, a service several other stores, such as BookPeople in Austin and Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, Kan., have also provided.
At Libro.fm, the audiobookstore, the bestseller list is dominated by antiracism titles. In response to a request from author David Epstein, Libro.fm donated 20 copies of Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi so Epstein could them away to readers. In addition, Epstein purchased 20 copies of Kendi's How to be an Anti-racist to give away as well. Kendi himself contributed an antiracist reading list to the New York Times.
The Key Bookstore, which describes itself as "an Afrocentric interactive online bookstore," published a white ally reading list and encouraged readers to show their support for the protests by buying from black businesses.
Noëlle Santos, owner of The Lit. Bar in the Bronx, N.Y., tweeted, "My team collectively asked me if I would fire them if they got arrested for protesting. I can't emphasize enough how important black business ownership is today."
As noted in a recent article on BookPost, the Black Stone Bookstore in Ypsilanti, Mich. posted to their Facebook page, that their bestselling titles for the week include, How to be an Antiracist, as well as White Fragility by Robin Diangelo; Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad; So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo; and The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. "This bestseller list is a sign of hope for humanity, and at the same time, not nearly enough," the owner Carlos Frank added.
Social media has encouraged supporters to buy their books from black-owned bookstores. Among the stores that have been referenced are: AfriWare Books in Maywood, Ill.; Ashay By The Bay in Vallejo, Calif.; Eso Won Books in Los Angeles; EyeSeeMe Bookstore in St. Louis, Mo.; Hakim's Bookstore in Philadelphia Harriett's Bookshop in Philadelphia; ; Mahogany Books in Washington, D.C.; Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago; Sisters Uptown in New York City; Source Booksellers in Detroit, Mich.; Source of Knowledge Bookstore in Newark, N.J.; Turning Page Bookshop in Goose Creek, S.C. and Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books in Philadelphia. (See PW's developing list of black-owned bookstores.)
Marcus Book Stores in Oakland, Calif., the oldest independent black-owned bookstore in the country, is in the midst of a $200,000 GoFundMe campaign and has seen a number of recent donations given in the name of George Floyd or Black Lives Matter. The campaign has so far raised more than $144,000.
The African American Literature Book Club, which opened in 1997 and claims to be the oldest online black bookstore, offers numerous resources, including interviews, a listing of book festivals, links to bookstores, and information about 13,000 titles.
And Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis, which is next door to the police precinct where the protests that have now swept the nation first erupted, has posted on its website a petition that the Minneapolis City Council "divest" from the police department by defunding it and provide funding instead for community-led initiatives. Last week, when protests raged outside the store, Moon Palace staff provided protesters with free pizza, let them use store bathrooms, and set up a medic area and a supplies drop off hub in the store's parking lot.
This article has been updated with additional information.