Stock Up on Books From These Black-Owned Bookshops Across the US
Book-lovers have an opportunity to be discerning when it comes to where we buy our books, and fellow readers know those dollars can add up. Many of us are adding antiracism and social-justice books to our TBR lists in addition to supporting Black authors and Black-owned companies in solidarity against the recent killing of George Floyd and other acts of police brutality against Black Americans. So if you weren't already being thoughtful with your book spending, it's time to shift your shopping habits and buy books from your local Black-owned bookstores.
While we still have a long road ahead when it comes to addressing systemic racism in society, buying books from Black-owned bookshops is something readers across the nation can all do together to support the Black economy. Find more ways we can work together to foster an inclusive and antiracist society here, and keep reading for a list of Black-owned bookshops in the US.
Arkansas: Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing
Located in Little Rock and founded by art-lover Garbo Hearne, Pyramid Art has been around since 1988. The idea of the store stemmed from Hearne's passion for and appreciation of Black art and culture. Pyramid has hosted hundreds of book signings, cultural events, and programs over the years and is continuing to educate and inspire those in the community.
California: Ashay by the Bay
Ashay by the Bay is a children's bookstore located in Oakland. It was founded over 20 years ago and offers books for ages ranging from infants to teens. Ashay by the Bay also has educational materials for those looking to learn more about Black history and culture. Check out the blog on the site to learn about upcoming events and more!
More California bookstores:
Connecticut: The Key Bookstore
The Key Bookstore is more than just a place that sells books; it has activities, events, and community engagement opportunities so everyone can learn from each other. In addition, The Key Bookstore's selection is curated on the pillars of Afrocentricity, spirituality, environmentalism, and entrepreneurship.
Delaware: MeJah Books, Inc.
Founded in 1998 by Emlyn DeGannes, this local bookshop features everything from Black classics to self-empowerment books. Most locals know the owner as Ms. Em, proving this store is a true community treasure.
Florida: Cultured Books
This children's bookstore is full of powerful, fun, and sweet reads for kids and adults alike. The shop holds interactive events for children and even has its own book club. From books that teach kids to be antiracist to titles that will inspire them to achieve their dreams, Cultured Books is a great resource for people of all ages.
More Florida bookstores:
Georgia: Brave and Kind Bookshop
This thoughtfully curated kid's bookstore features a broad selection of diverse stories, creative workshops, and more. With events and classes for little ones that are enriching and inspiring, children are encouraged to channel their creative writing and storytelling abilities.
More Georgia bookstores:
Illinois: Semicolon Bookstore
This Black-woman-owned bookstore and gallery can be found in West Town Chicago. With books ranging from prominent new titles to must-read favorites, Semicolon Bookstore is a bookworm's dream.
This note from the owner of the shop, DL Mullen, sums up her hopes for the store, as well as for society: "If you're still reading, let this act as your reminder that action is the ONLY catalyst for change. We'll never be completely ready, but getting to the other side of our dreams, our plans, and ourselves cannot be accomplished without taking that first step forward. Let's continue to support the magic, the finesse, and the audacity of Black women in all their glory."
More Illinois bookstores:
Indiana: Brain Lair Books
Located in South Bend, Brain Lair Books' main mission is to help everyone, especially young children and teenagers, see themselves in a better light. The store believes that through reading, you get a clearer vision of what's possible, what you can do, and where you can go in life.
More Indiana bookstores:
Kentucky: Wild Fig Books and Coffee
Wild Fig Books and Coffee can be found in the North Limestone area of Lexington and was founded by writer Crystal Wilkinson and her partner, Ronald Davis. If you can't find a book you're looking for on its site, the store is more than happy to order it for you!
Maryland: Wisdom Book Center
A book center with African cultural products, Wisdom Book Center is full of artifacts, music, hair products, and more. The store offers an assortment of books from a Black point of view that cover topics such as education, psychology, history, literature, health, and business.
More Maryland bookstores:
Michigan: Source Booksellers
An independent bookstore in Detroit's Midtown district, Source Booksellers has a huge collection of diverse books. It's complete with historical, cultural, and nonfiction titles, so you're sure to find your next read here.
More Michigan bookstores:
Missouri: EyeSeeMe Children's Bookstore
EyeSeeMe Children's Bookstore has a mission to be a resource to everyone in the community, including parents and teachers, by providing children's books that promote positive images and stories about Black culture and history. The store hopes to increase literacy and help Black children see themselves respectfully represented in the literature they consume.
More Missouri bookstores:
Nebraska: Aframerican Bookstore
Located in Omaha, Aframerican Bookstore was established in 1990 with African-centered writings top of mind. The purpose of the store is to promote the distribution of literary works that are uplifting to the community and all those in it.
New Jersey: La Unique African American Books & Cultural Center
With books about history, religion, and poetry, La Unique African American Books & Cultural Center has a vast collection for all kinds of readers. The shop also offers skin-care products in addition to books.
Another New Jersey bookstore:
New York: Cafe Con Libros
Cafe Con Libros is Brooklyn's only feminist bookstore and coffee shop. This store's selection of books is carefully picked and used to create a sense of community for everyone, especially women. The bookstore even has its own podcast called Conversations From the Cafe.
More New York bookstores:
North Carolina: Shelves Bookstore
Founded by Abbigail "Abbi" Glen, a Philly girl who relocated to Charlotte, Shelves Bookstore is her way of sharing her love for books with others. Her shop is a place where people of all ages can find great stories, have meaningful discussions, and even get insight from prominent authors and guest speakers.
Ohio: Smith & Hannon Bookstore
Oklahoma: Mocha Books
Owned by mother and educator Shionka McGlory, Mocha Books is a place that works toward highlighting characters of color in literature. Shionka's mission is to create a family-friendly space that promotes a love for reading as well as community engagement.
Another Oklahoma bookstore:
Pennsylvania: Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books
Complete with monthly events and a full menu packed with sandwiches, coffee, and vegan offerings, Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books is more than a bookstore, it's a community. Come here to enjoy a quiet afternoon of reading, or stop by to participate in one of the fun events.
More Pennsylvania bookstores:
South Carolina: Turning Page Bookshop
Started by best friends Valinda Miller and Arrylee Satterfield, Turning Page Bookshop was a way for the two to spread their love for books while also giving back to the community. Their store offers a selection of different genres like young adult and mystery books.
Tennessee: The African Place
Located in Memphis, The African Place was established in 1999 and is operated by Trina Clemmons and her sister, Doris Clemmons. The store carries African clothing, artwork, and Rasta apparel, along with books and movies.
Texas: Enda's Booktique
Enda's Booktique's Instagram bio says it best: "An independent bookstore owned by an African American educator. Our collection of books are written by women, for women, and about women." Check out the site for featured writers, book recommendations, and more!
More Texas bookstores:
Virginia: Harambee Books & Artworks
An independent bookstore in Old Town Alexandria, Harambee Books and Artworks has a wide selection of bestselling novels and exclusive artwork. The shop also has educational resources such as reading programs and community-based events in hopes of improving literacy in the town.
More Virginia bookstores:
Washington DC: Loyalty Bookstore
This indie bookstore in DC specializes in diverse books along with home goods and cute gifts. Loyalty Bookstore also has a team of vendors and community partners who it works with to put on intimate events for avid readers and authors.
More Washington DC bookstores:
Washington: Sistah SciFi
Founded by Isis Asare, Sistah Scifi is stocked with science-fiction books and literature written by Black women. Complete with novels about witches and T-shirts sporting the logo "Black women of the future," this is definitely a shop you'll be enchanted by.
Online Bookstore: The African American Literature Book Club
The African American Literature Book Club is an online bookstore that celebrates Black culture through books, conversations, and events that any and all readers can enjoy. The store maintains a curated collection of over 13,000 books that cover over a century of Black literature, as well as over 4,800 profiles on authors that include biographies, published books, interviews, videos, and more. Readers can also join in on discussions that cover Black literature, culture, and poetry, to name a few.
Another online bookstore: