Category Archives: 2017

Book Club Picks – $10 Classics from HarperCollins – Plus More in AALBC’s eNewsletter

Olive editions by Harper Colins


Books a Few Book Clubs are Enjoying this Month

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieThe Tea’s October SelectionWe Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

Watch a video of The Tea’s discussion.


The Fire Next Time by James BaldwinGo On Girl! Book Club’s October SelectionThe Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

▪ Voted #71 of the Top 100 Books of the 20th Century
▪ 1 Time AALBC.com Bestselling Book!
▪ Selected for 2 Book Clubs’s Reading Lists
▪ Honored by the National Book Awards in 1964
▪ A QBR 100 Essential Black Book

Originally published in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. Sales of The Fire Next Time on AALBC.com helps support Go On Girl! Book Club’s scholarship fund.


The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues by Edward Kelsey MooreFolktales’ Black Women’s Literary Society’s October SelectionThe Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues by Edward Kelsey Moore

From the author of the bestselling The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, The Supremes Sing the Happy Heartache Blues, an exuberant and poignant novel of passions, family, and forgiveness. When a late life love affair blooms between Mr. Forrest Payne, the owner of the Pink Slipper Gentleman’s Club, and Miss Beatrice Jordan, famous for stationing herself at the edge of the club’s parking lot and yelling warnings of eternal damnation at the departing patrons,…


Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu is Our #2 All-Time Bestselling Author
Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu is Our #2 All-Time Bestselling Author

Dr. Kunjufu has made AALBC.com bestsellers list an astonishing 85 times with 16 different books! His book focus on the subject educating Black boys.

“I’ve read The Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys about five times over the last 25 years or so. Anybody who has a relationship with a black boy should read this book.”—Reginald Johnson


Would You Stop Buying Books from Amazon.com to Save the Book Industry?Would You Stop Buying Books from Amazon.com to Save the Book Industry?

As Amazon’s dominance approaches that of true monopoly, the influence of all other booksellers is virtually eliminated. As a result, the discoverability of books is driven by a revenue-maximizing-algorithm rather than curated by a caring human being who knows both books and their readers.

Boycotting Amazon’s bookstore might mean, at least initially, that you’ll have pay a little more for books, or you’ll wait a little longer to get them, but it will also mean you’ll be more likely to enjoy the books you do purchase. Review the results of our survey. Whether you are for or against a boycott of Amazon’s bookstore the comments will surprise you.


Recently Published Noteworthy BooksRecently Published Books of Note

Faces of Praise!: Photos and Gospel Inspirations to Encourage and Uplift by Carol Mackey: This full-color photo gift book that turns chart-topping contemporary gospel music into Bible-based devotions is a three-way blessing for readers: a perfect companion to favorite gospel recordings, an encouraging daily devotional and a unique photo collection.

Pelé: The King of Soccer by Eddy Simon: This graphic novel beautifully depicts Pele’s (widely regarded as the greatest soccer player of all time) rise from the slums of Brazil to the national stage.

100 Amazing Facts About the Negro by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: Gates gives us a corrective yet loving homage to Joel Augustus Rogers’ work. Relying on the latest scholarship, Gates leads us on a romp through African, diasporic, and African-American history in question-and-answer format.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother.Longlist for a 2017 National Book Award – Young People’s Literature

I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina: In the first graphic novel for young readers to focus on police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, as in Hamlet, the dead shall speak—and the living yield even more surprises.


Colin Kaepernick Signs a $1 Million+ Book DealColin Kaepernick Signs a $1 Million+ Book Deal

“Colin Kaepernick has inked a book deal worth just over $1 million with Random House imprint One World, Page Six has exclusively learned. One World’s headed by book world superstar Chris Jackson, who also publishes Jay-Z and Ta-Nehisi Coates. He launched One World last year.” —The New York Post (10/24/2017)

One World was founded in 1992 and was on the leading edge of imprints created to meet the demand of books telling stories written by and featuring African Americans, a period which only lasted about a decade. One World was relaunched after several years of inactivity. Jackson has been named Editor-in-Chief of the imprint, making him the most powerful Black man in mainstream publishing.


Help Fund Black Documents: Mosaic Literary ConferenceHelp Fund Black Documents: Mosaic Literary Conference

Help fund this year’s Black Documents: Mosaic Literary Conference and related exhibitions. They can’t reach their goal to support Black literature, education, and social causes without your support.

Black Documents: Mosaic Literary Conference will explore historical and contemporary presentations of black identity in literature, media, and photography; and how self-affirming imagery and text can counter negative stereotypes. To this end, the conference will also present photography exhibits Jamel Shabazz: Black Documents and Black Documents: Freedom.

To make it happen, they need your support. Go to their Kickstarter and give what you can. Rewards include exhibit catalogue, posters, book sets, totes and more.


“We Must Patronize Black-Owned Websites or Lose Them”We Must Patronize Black-Owned Websites or Lose Them

Part of AALBC.com’s mission to help promote and uplift independent websites created by, and for, people of African descent. The Top 50 Black Owned SItes represent the strongest of over 300 popular Black-owned websites

We can’t allow a few social media gatekeepers to be the only entities who control access to, and profit from, our culture on the web. Read some of the feedback for this project and why it was started.


New Mailing List for Authors and Publishers

We have creating a new mailing list just for authors, publishers, and people interested in using AALBC.com to market their products. If you would like to continue receiving resources and information relevant to that demographic, please click the “Join the Mailing List” button below.
Join Out Mailing List


Dear Reader,

In a world where we are losing Black-owned websites, of all types, and websites that cover Black books in particular, it is important to emphasize that AALBC.com exists as a result of your patronage and support—In fact, AALBC.com will thrive because of it!

I’d like to thank just a few of the recent newsletter subscribers who have supported AALBC at the Supporter Level or above; H. Cook, C. Smith, and M. Smart. Supporters at the Subscriber Level, while too numerous to mention here, are just as important, for every paid subscription matters.

If you value and believe in uplifting Black literature; please;

Again, your support, patronage, and engagement with the website is the only reason AALBC.com has lasted 20 years, enabling us to publish this, our 250th eNewsletter!

Peace & Love,
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Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com


Our newsletter may be read on your Kindle ebook reader or read via RSS. Consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated mailing.

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AALBC.com eNewsletter – October 26, 2017 – Issue #250

Would You Stop Buying Books from Amazon.com to Save the Book Industry?

Boycotting Amazon’s bookstore might mean, at least initially, that you’ll have pay a little more for books, or you’ll wait a little longer to get them, but it will also mean you’ll be more likely to enjoy the books you do purchase.

Ban Amazon

As Amazon’s dominance approaches that of true monopoly, the influence of all other booksellers is virtually eliminated.  As a result, the discoverability of books is driven by a revenue-maximizing-algorithm rather than curated by a caring human being who knows both books and their readers.

Exploiting their monopolistic power Amazon has become 100% vertically integrated—controlling every aspect of a book’s  production all the way to its sale to the reader.  As a result, Amazon exerts enormous control over authors and publishers. This directly controls the books readers have available to them.  Increased pressure is placed upon every book’s profitability, and potentially great books are not produced as riskier books can not be supported under Amazon’s business model.

Amazon’s treatment of books as loss leader and exploiting 3rd party vendors who often sell remaindered, review, or even pirated or stolen copies of books allows readers to enjoy low priced books. It is unreasonable to assume that these discounts will continue once Amazon’s competition has been completely eliminated. Border is gone, B&N, is in decline, and sales by independent bookstores are paltry compared to total book sales. Amazon already owns the sale of books on the world wide web.  In fact, Amazon sells 43% if everything sold on the web!

Related Reading:
The problems are far more complex and profound that I have presented above.  Please consider reviewing these articles that touch on different aspects on why Amazon’s dominance is bad of all of us, not just for those of us who care about the importance of books.

Boycotting Amazon’s bookstore is one small way we can have an effect.  We can no longer wait for Amazon’s monopoly to be broken up by ur government.  Too much damage has been done already.

Would you consider helping to organize, or joining an effort, to a boycott the buying of books from Amazon to reverse their control of the book industry so they we can enjoy better books and more of the profit they generate?

Please fill out the form below and let us know what you think.

The survey is now over. You may review the results and comments here.

We Must Patronize Black-Owned Websites or Lose Them

The Top 50 Black-Owned Websites

Part of AALBC.com’s mission is to help support Black-owned websites.  Historically, I’ve focused on sites related to books including, publisher sites, authors sites, and even other bookseller sites. I support other booksellers, because no single site can possibly cover all the great Black books available, and each site brings a unique perspective to how they cover Black books.

As the number of large Black-owned websites that cover Black books began to decrease, I expanded the scope of websites that I supported to include Black-Owned Magazines and Black-Owned Newspapers. While newspapers and magazines do not cover Black books as deeply, or as frequently, as a dedicated book site would, they still are important platforms for Black writers and their books.

Black People are not profiting from the great wealth generated on the web.Many of our Black-owned newspaper and magazine websites began publishing less original content or shutting down.  So I decided to open up my support to include even the largest Black-owned sites.  In 2013, I compiled a list of the top 10 sites and called it the crude but traffic generating name, “The 10 Best Damn Black Websites Period!

I discovered during my research many of the most popular websites focused on Black culture were not Black-owned. It became clear, Black people are not profiting from the great wealth generated on the web—even when the content is directly related to Black culture.

Perhaps worse, I found the most frequently visited websites owned by Black people were enjoying great success by providing very salacious, celebrity driven content.  Comments in reaction to an article in Black Enterprise celebrating the success of one such site, MediaTakeOut, illustrates this point:

“Black Enterprise should be embarrassed to do a story praising this man [MediaTakeOut’s Founder,  Fred Mwangaguhunga] like he is some type of role model for the black community. Did you even look at his website before writing this article? It is extremely racist against white people, very degrading to black people, homophobic, and constantly making fun of people. I don’t know when publishing this type of offensive trash on a low budget website became worthy of so much praise, or how the lies on his site can be considered “celeb news”. Black Enterprise just lost a lot of credibility and better realize that Media Take Out is an embarrassment to black people.”

“When I think of minstrel websites such as MTO, BlackPlanet, BET, and WorldStarHip (actually, all of their clones, quite frankly), and the collective devastating effects of ZIP COONERY on our people, I think of the UNCF slogan: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

These comments were not cherry picked to make my point but are reflective of the overall reaction to the article, (Black Enterprise, June 21, 2011, “Former Lawyer Succeeds Online as Man Behind MediaTakeOut”).

Black Enterprise

MediaTakeOut is not alone.  In fact, as far I can tell, Worldstar Hip Hop, is the most frequently visited Black-owned website, but their content is arguably even more prurient than MediaTakeOut’s.

Fortunately, the World Wide Web is vast and there is plenty of room for all types of websites. However, because of the dominance exerted by a handful of extremely powerful corporations, independent, Black-owned websites that produce serious content are crowded out and are effectively rendered undiscoverable.

As a result, when it comes to informing Black people of important issues, determining how Black people are portrayed in the media, and sharing in the wealth that is created on the web, Black people are largely excluded.

Some Black folks take great pride in our dominance of #blacktwitter, but no one mentions how little we profit from that activity or even asks how Twitter actually serves the Black community.  Many websites have turned to Facebook to bring visitors to their websites; they built large Facebook followings, only to have Facebook tell them that organic reach has ended, and that they must now must pay to reach the audience they worked so hard to build.

If we are to regain our agency and share more equitably in the revenue generated on the web, we must make this happen ourselves.  AALBC.com’s contribution is to help spread the word about hundreds of popular Black-owned websites as well as sharing detailed information about our Top 50 Black-Owned Websites.

We all can do something to help increase the influence, revenue, and quality of Black-owned websites. The solution is quite simple:

We Must Patronize Black-Owned Websites:

  • Identify one or two websites that you like and visit them regularly,
  • Leave comments on their articles and engage on their discussion forums,
  • Subscribe to their publications,
  • Send them feedback,
  • Buy their products, and
  • Share their content with others

The solution is not more engagement on social media—that just enriches social media at our expense. The solution will not come from government legislation—they are part of the problem and any potential solution will come after the damage has been done.

There is still a wealth of interesting content on the web. Indeed I trust AALBC.com is contributing to that wealth, but it will not continue if the current trends persist unabated. If we don’t determine what is important, then someone else will do it for us.

The power to increase Black ownership and control on the World Wide Web is in our hands. Lets use our power!