Monthly Archives: March 2012

Death of the Black Owned, Independent, Bookstore

Editor’s Note: We published an update of our bookstores in March of 2014.

One of the very first things I put on’s web site, back in 1999, was a list of independent, Black owned, bookstores.   This list was very difficult to maintain and over the years various individuals contributed to help keep it up to date.  My list, unfortunately, had not been updated since 2007.

Nkiru Books, a Brooklyn based institution founded in 1977, closed in 2002 - Photo Credit: Marcia Wilson

Nkiru Books, a Brooklyn based institution founded in 1977, closed in 2002 (not included on list below) – Photo Credit: Marcia Wilson

The Good News First:
In a joint effort, that included ABLE (The Alliance for Black Literature and Entertainment), and, the out of date list of independent, Black owned, bookstores was revived and updated into database driven directory with maps, social media, photos and more.  The new bookstore database was launched today today and is available at and here on (

Here is the Bad News:
When I looked over the results of our Bookstore research, my heart fell as I discovered more than 2 out of 3 stores that were in business just a few years ago are now closed.   I’ve shared the list of the closed bookstores below.  I have nothing more meaningful to add.  The list speaks for itself…

A & B Distributors – Brooklyn, NY
African & Islamic Books Plus – Cleveland, OH
African American Books and Publishing – Baltimore, MD
African American Gift Gallery – Knoxville, TN
African American Heritage Book – West Palm Beach, FL
African Artisans – Baldwin, NY
African Book Store – Fort Lauderdale, FL
African Heritage Books & Gifts – San Francisco, CA
African House Institute of Learning – Jersey City, NJ
African Marketplace – Los Angeles, CA
Afro Books – Atlanta, GA
Afrocentric Book Store – Chicago, IL
Afrocentric Books & Cafe – St. Louis, MO
Alkebulan Books – Berkeley, CA
Amen-Ra’s Bookstore and Gallery – Tallahassee, FL
Arawak Books – Hyattsville, MD
Ascension Books – Columbia, MD
Asiatic the Soul of Black Folks – Toronto, ON
Atlantic Bookpost – Reston, VA
B.T.S. Unlimited Books – Detroit, MI
Baruti-Ba Books – Dayton, OH
Bishari Urban Books, Phoenix Crossing Shopping Center – , NC
Black Book Discounters – Houston, TX
Black By Popular Demand – Hyattsville, MD
Black Classics – Books & Gifts – Mobile, AL
Black Images Book Bazaar – Dallas, TX
Black Spring Books – Vallejo, CA
Black Swan Books & Coffee – Kohler, WI
Blacknificent Books & More – Raleigh, NC
Blackprint Heritage Gallery – New Haven, CT
Book House Cafe & Gifts – Benton Harbor, MI
Books In Color – North Highlands, CA
Books in the Black – Columbia, SC
Bright Lights Children’s Bookstore – Inglewood, CA
Brother’s Books – Seattle, WA
Carol’s Essentials Ethnic Gifts and Books – Seattle, WA
Celebrate – Peachtree City, GA
Crescent Office Store – East Orange, NJ
Cultural Bookstore  – Chicago, IL
Cultural Expression – Newport News, VA
D & J Book Distributors – Laurelton, NY
Da Book Joint – Chicago, IL
DARE Books & Educational Supplies – Brooklyn, NY
DeesBookNook Distributors – So. Richmond Hills, NY
Dorothea’s African-American Books and Gifts – Columbia, SC
Drum and Spear Books – Washington, DC
Dygnyti Books – Hamden, CT
Dynasty Bookstore, Eastland Mall – Charlotte, NC
EDEN Books – Hartford, CT
Education 2000+ Bookstore – Long Beach, CA
Education Central, Sunny Isle Shopping Plaza – St. Croix,
Ethnic Elegance – Jacksonville, FL
Exhale African American Books & Gifts – Sugar Land, TX
Faith To Faith Books  – Minneapolis, MN
Forewords Books & Gifts, Located in Originations Gallery – Ann Arbor, MI
Freedom Now Bookstore – Decatur, GA
Gene’s Books – King of Prussia, PA
Haneef’s Bookstore and Mosi Art Gallery – Wilmington, DE
Heritage Bookstore and More – Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Heritage House – Charlotte, NC
Imagine This! Books Etc. – Memphis, TN
IronWood Corner – Pasadena, CA
Jamaicaway Books & Gifts – Boston, MA
Kana CDs & Books – Columbus, Ohio [Owner Cedric Reed closed the store in 2008 and cntinued Operation on-line until 2009]
Karibu Books – Hyattsville, MD, (6 Locations)
Know Thyself, Bookstore and Cultural Development Center – Philadelphia, PA
Kongo Square Gallery – Los Angeles, CA
LaCeter’s Book Service – Southfield, MI
Liberation Bookstore – New York, NY
Ligorius Bookstore Inc. – Philadelphia, PA
Living Room Book & Pastry – Greensboro, NC
Lodestar Books – Birmingham, AL
Love Christian Book Store – Orlando, FL
Mahogany Books – Detroit, MI
Mahogany Books & Gifts – Fairfield, AL
Matais Books Cards & Art – Long Beach, CA
Mind & Soul Bookstore, Inc. – Trenton, NJ
MochaReaders – Dayton, OH [Owner Rhonda Bogan thought long and hard about tough decision of closing store in 2011]
Montsho BookFairs, Etc., Inc. – Orlando, FL
Mt. Zion Kid’s Village, Little Angels Children’s Bookstore – Jonesboro, GA
Nefertiti’s Books and Gifts  – Jacksonville, FL
Nimde Books – Louisville, KY
Nu World of Books – Beaumont, TX
Off The Shelf African American Books – Columbia, SC
One Force Books – Richmond, VA
Our Black Heritage – New York, NY
Out of Africa, Windsor Park Mall – San Antonio, TX
Paperback Connection – Oklahoma City, OK
Paradise Book Store – Peoria, AZ
Peek-A-Boo Books II, Wheaton Mall – Wheaton, MD
People’s Books & Gifts – Springfield, OH
Phenix Information Center – San Bernardino, CA
PowerHouse Books – Hopkins, SC
Precious Memories Reading and Collectibles – Richmond, VA
Rainbow Books & Blooms – Yorktown Heights, NY
Reading Room Bookstore  – Chicago, IL
Roots & Wings: A Cultural Bookplace  – Montgomery, AL
Sacred Thoughts Bookstore – Jersey City, NJ
Sensational Minds – Savannah, GA
Serengeti Plains  – Montclair, NJ
Shades of Sienna – Oakland, CA
Sidewalk University – Memphis, TN
Soul Source Bookstore – Atlanta, GA
Special Occasions – Winston-Salem, NC
Stouffville Book Connection Inc – Stouffville, ON
TDIR Books – Columbia, SC
Tenaj Books & Gift Gallery – Fort Pierce, FL
The Black Bookworm – Fort Worth, TX
The Black Library – Boston, MA
The Book House Café, LGBT Books – Oakland, CA
The Book Lovers Lounge – Lauderdale Lakes, FL
The Cultural Connection Bookstore  – Milwaukee, WI
The Heritage Center – Vicksburg, MS
The Know Bookstore – Durham, NC
The Living Word Bookstore – Chicago, IL
The Presence of Africans In the Bible Book Center – Minneapolis, MN
The Reading Room Bookstore – Atlanta, GA
The Roots Book Store, Inside of Tapers Hair Care – Baton Rouge, LA
Too-No Books Etc. – Moss Point, MS
Treasures of the Mind Bookstore – St. Louis, MO
Tricia’s Books N’ Things – Houston, TX
Truth Boutique & Bookstore, Eastland Mall #823 – Harper Woods, MI
Tunde Dada House of Africa – Orange, NJ
Tunde Dada House of Africa, Green Acres Mall – Valley Stream, NY
Two Friends Bookstore – Atlanta, GA
Uhuru Books – Minneapolis, MN
Under One Roof Afrikan American Bookstore – Killeen, TX
W&W African American Art, Specializing in Books & Gift Items, Etc. – Fayetteville, NC
X-pression Bookstore & Gallery – Indianapolis, IN
Yawa Books – Washington, DC
Yehudah Inc. – Teaneck, NJ
Zawadi Gift Shop – Brooklyn, NY

…Actually I do have something to add.  If you happen to reside in a community fortunate enough to have an independent bookstore, please support it.  These establishments are true community and cultural, treasures.   Sure eBooks and websites are great, but not everything can be replaced with machines and technology.

While we attempted to make this list as accurate as possible, mistakes do occur.  If there is a store posted here that is indeed open please lets of know so that we may remove it from this list and add it to our database of bookstores.  You may post the correction in the comments below or email me at

Our database of bookstores can be made available to anyone interested in posting it on their website, with a single line of code.  Email me at if you are interested.

Here is a related article: Top Ten Reasons Why African American Bookstores Are Closing by Gwen Richardson

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