Category Archives: Bestsellers

October Bestsellers, Award Winning Books, New Bookstores and More

Bestselling Books September/October 2017
October bestsellers

The fiction category was dominated by Sadeqa Johnson’s novel Second House from the Corner, which tops our bestsellers list for the 2nd straight period. Margaret Wilkerson Sexton’s A Kind of Freedom makes its debut on our list this period and is already one of the most critically acclaimed books for 2017.

Nonfiction was the top-selling genre for the Sept/Oct 2017 period. The bestsellers in the nonfiction category are a nice mix of new books and classic titles. Anthony Browder’s seminal work, Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization should be required reading for all Americans (check out Browder’s documentary film covering the book subject).

Children’s Books sales were led by Rita Williams-Garcia’s One Crazy Summer, which has made our bestsellers list 11 times and is now our all-time bestselling children’s book. Bright Eyes, Brown Skin by Cheryl Willis Hudson, originally published in 1990, is still a favorite with our readers. It was the first children’s book published, illustrated, and written by Black people to win a major award.

Poetry sells each 2 month period for which we report, however sales were insufficient to compile a bestsellers for the genre. The last poetry list was last reported Jan/Feb 2017.


Winners of the 2017 National Book AwardsNational Book Awards

Jesmyn Ward won a National Book Award, for the second time, with her novel Sing, Unburied, Sing. Ward’s first win was in 2011 for Salvage the Bones.

There were 8 additional Black authors who were longlisted or finalists for a National Book Award this year, including Rita Williams-Garcia. Her children’s book Clayton Byrd Goes Underground was a finalist in the Young People’s Literature category.


The Talented Ribkins Wins Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

The Talented RibkinsNew Orleans writer and educator Ladee Hubbard’s debut novel, The Talented Ribkins, has won the 2017 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.

“For sheer reading pleasure Ladee Hubbard’s original and wildly inventive novel is in a class by itself.” —Toni Morrison

Inspired by W. E. B. Du Bois’s famous essay “The Talented Tenth” and fuelled by Ladee Hubbard’s marvelously original imagination, The Talented Ribkins is a big-hearted debut novel about race, class, politics, and the unique gifts that, while they may cause some problems from time to time, bind a family together.


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

Would You Boycott Amazon“Would You Stop Buying Books from Amazon.com to Save the Book Industry?”Ruth J. Morrison, CEO and Executive Producer, What’s The 411TV; and AALBC.com Founder, Troy Johnson discuss, in a video, Amazon’s effect on the “Black Book Ecosystem” (Black writers, printers, booksellers, distributors, marketers, readers, etc.) and how the algorithms of digital search has hurt Black-owned websites.

Also check out the results of our poll, “Would You Stop Buying Books from Amazon.com to Save the Book Industry?

Perhaps the salvation of the Black Book Ecosystem may lie in us abandoning Amazon’s bookstore and utilizing our own resources. Join our new platform to explore the feasibility of launching a Boycott of Amazon’s bookstore.


What the Heck Happened to Poetry Book Sales?

Poetry BooksWhen I first started publishing bestsellers lists in the late 1990s poetry sold extremely well on AALBC.com. This was during a period when it was almost a cliché that; “Poetry Doesn’t Sell.” Despite that, the groundbreaking poetry anthology 360° A Revolution of Black Poets was one of our first Bestselling books. Jessica Care Moore’s Moore Black Press was the top selling publisher and Saul Williams was the all-time bestselling author on the website throughout the 1990s.

Over the past few years we’ve seen more critically acclaimed poetry published than perhaps any period before. Tyehimba Jess Olio won a Pulitzer Prize this year, Rita Dove’s Collected Poems: 1974–2004 was a finalist for a National Book Award last year, and I could go on. While AALBC.com cannot represent an entire industry; it has performed very well in anticipating emerging trends. A drop in poetry sales is not a trend I’d welcome.

If you’ve never purchased poetry, check out one of these titles, you might be struck in an unexpected way.


Two New Independent Bookstores Open This Week

UNcle Bobbie Coffee and BooksMahoganyBooks is taking up new space in the 9,300 square-foot arts center — the first bookstore to serve the Anacostia [SE Washington, DC] neighborhood since Pyramid Books closed in the mid-1990s — the company is far from new. For the past decade Mahogany has successfully sold books online and will continue to do so along with in-person sales at its new location. The company has also serviced numerous book events and book clubs in the Washington metro area. Read more at Atlanta Black Star.

Marc Lamont Hill, a noted author, social commentator and professor, has made a foray into entrepreneurship by opening a new coffee shop and bookstore in Philadelphia.
His new shop, Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books opened Monday, November 27. Read more at The Philadelphia Tribune.


Annual Harlem FeteThe Annual Harlem Fete is December 4, 2017

If you can get to Harlem and want to celebrate Black literature with the folks who create and produce it, join us at our annual Harlem Fete.

When: Monday December 4th 2017, 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: Settepani 196 Lenox Ave (at the corner of SE corner of 120th street), in Harlem New York
RSVP: annualharlemfete@gmail.com


Troy Johnson AALBC.com Founder and WebmasterDear Reader,

Your feedback, support, patronage, and engagement is the only reason AALBC.com has lasted 20 years.

Peace & Love,
troy signature
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.

AALBC.com LogoAALBC.com eNewsletter – November 28, 2017 – Issue #251

Bestselling Books, The Top 25 Black-Owned Sites, New Books, and More

eNewsletter September 2017

Bestselling Books July – August 2017

Fiction titles outsold all other genres this period, led by the strength of Sadeqa Johnson’s 2016 novel Second House from the Corner, which was the bestselling book of all. Nonfiction was the 2nd most popular genre, rebounding from weak sales in May and June of 2017. The bestselling nonfiction book was Ivan Van Sertima’s masterwork, They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America, which made our list for the 13th time since 1999! Children’s Book sales, continue to be strong with a nice mixture of new and classic titles with publication dates spanning a period of 50 years. Poetry sells each period for which we report, however sales were insufficient to compile a bestsellers for the genre.


Recommended Reads

We Were 8 Years in PowerWe Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates

We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates’s iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including “Fear of a Black President,” “The Case for Reparations,” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.

If you are in the DC area Join Sankofa Bookstore as they present: Ta-Nehisi Coates Washington, DC’s Book Launch, October 9th.


Yardie by Victor HeadleyYardie by Victor Headley

A literary sensation in England, and originally published by X Press, Yardie introduces us to D., a tough, streetwise man from Jamaica who, using a falsified passport, enters London to deliver a kilo of cocaine to the Spicers, the ruling operation in cocaine distribution. D., knowing it could be his only chance for a break, steals half a kilo and runs out into a city he is entirely unfamiliar with, having only vague contacts from the life he left behind.

Actor Idris Elba will make his directorial debut in 2018 with a film version of this novel.

“Yardie was that noir novel that everyone read …[I’m] making a charismatic film. Yardie is to me what Goodfellas was to Martin Scorsese.” –Idris Elba


Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, Illustrated by Gordon C. JamesCrown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, Illustrated by Gordon C. James

“A fresh cut makes boys fly.”

The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices.

Check out more Children’s and YA literature coming out soon.


A Good Cry: What We Learn From Tears and Laughter by Nikki GiovanniA Good Cry: What We Learn From Tears and Laughter by Nikki Giovanni

As energetic and relevant as ever, Nikki now offers us an intimate, affecting, and illuminating look at her personal history and the mysteries of her own heart. Giovanni takes us into her confidence, describing the joy and peril of aging and recalling the violence that permeated her parents’ marriage and her early life. She pays homage to the people who have given her life meaning and joy: her grandparents, who took her in and saved her life; the poets and thinkers who have influenced her; and the students who have surrounded her.


Watch a Great Video of This Year’s Black Party

The video was created courtesy of The Tea, which is a terrific web series where books are the topic and women are the voice. The Tea joined us during our annual Black Pack Party this year and truly captured the spirit of our gathering. Check the Black Pack Party video. Learn more about The Tea at www.jointhetea.com


Children’s Africana Book Awards2017 Children’s Africana Book Awards

The Children’s Africana Book Awards (CABA) are presented annually to the authors and illustrators of the best children’s and young adult books on Africa published or republished in the U.S. The awards were created by Africa Access and the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association (ASA) to encourage the publication and use of accurate, balanced children’s materials about Africa. The awards are presented in two categories: Young Children and Older Readers.

Also check out The Children’s Africana Book Awards (CABA) Festival.


The Top 25 Black-Owned Websites

The Top 25 Black-Owned Websites

I have made it part of AALBC.com’s mission to help promote and uplift independent websites created by, and for, people of African descent. The Top 25 Black Owned SItes represent the most popular of almost 300 popular Black-owned websites considered for inclusion on this list. Be sure to help spread the word about, and visit, some of these great 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.


A Couple Recent Topics From Our Discussion Forum:

Move Over Nicki Minaj Make Way for Cardi B!
Read the lyrics below and watch the video also. Are the lyrics saying anything? How are females represented? Is it truly representing female empowerment? What is the language telling us and our children? What is the visual telling us and our children? Do you see any connection or relevance to E2E’s “The N-Word’s Multi-Layered Power Structure” video we shared with you a few weeks ago? What role do record and radio company executives play in the music we listen to? What about the artists – what guides their decision (money or artistry)? What do we as consumers and parents allow? Should we be more aware? What do you think is the ultimate impact globally of these lyrics and the image/visual? (What do you think?) —Courtesy of Educate2Empower

Black Men And Trump
“This ‘bend-the-knee’ fall-out is a legitimate news story that doesn’t die because it is so relevant. It doesn’t have to be hyped because it automatically inspires attention by virtue of being about something near and dear to the hearts of most Americans. And the fact that everybody seems to have an opinion on it is an indication of how it strikes a nerve in the population.” (What do you think?) —Cynique

Let us know what you think or start your own conversation. Participate anonymously (if you chose) without fear of your privacy being invaded or your personal information being sold to marketers.


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 the Mailing List

The following is the type of information you can expect in our new mailing list for authors and publishers:

Call for Literary Submissions for the 49th NAACP Image Awards
The official call for literary submission for the 49th NAACP Image Awards is now open. Visit the official Image Awards Submissions Portal to submit your book for consideration.


AALBC Prints Books!

AALBC Prints Books TeamWe provide book printing services to independent authors and publishers. We guarantee our results by providing a finished book for your review. Get a quote with our easy to use calculator for the most popular book sizes, including 5.5 x 8.5 and 6 x 9 paperback books.

We have teamed up with BCP Digital Printing, who like AALBC.com, have more than a two decades of experience. We also share their mission to provide you with friendly customer service, high quality results, expert advice, and competitive prices.

Edit 1st clients enjoy a 10% discount on top our already competitive prices and AALBC Prints Books’ customers get 15% off all AALBC.com’s services.


Let AALBC.com be your de facto official website

Authors are best served by maintaining their own websites. I have always assisted authors, as a courtesy, by serving as their de facto official website. Authors Martha Kennerson (marthakennerson.com) and Cavis Adams (cavisadams.com) have recently taken advantage of this free service by pointing their domains to their AALBC.com profile pages. If you are one of the more than 3,200 authors with a profile on AALBC.com and don’t have a website, just ask and we’ll take care of it. If you don’t have a profile on AALBC.com we can create one for you. Just follow the lead of accomplished writers like Elizabeth Nunez (elizabethnunez.com), as seen in the above graphic. Learn how to get started.


How a Book Goes from Writer to Reader in Traditional Publishing by Carol Taylor

  • How a Book Goes from Writer to Reader in Traditional Publishing by Carol TaylorThe writer writes a novel or a nonfiction book proposal.
  • The writer queries a literary agent with a query letter about his novel or his nonfiction book.
  • The agent expresses interest and asks to see the entire novel or the completed nonfiction book proposal.
  • The agent likes the work and agrees to represent the writer.

Read the rest of the article at Edit 1st.


Dear Reader,

Staring with our October eNewsletter, I’m going to remove information which is intended specifically for authors, publishers, or those interested in using AALBC.com to market their books.

The goal is to send readers newsletters more focused on books, authors, and related subjects. Troy, if there is something you’d like to see in our eNewsletter please email me directly.

As always, this website grows only because of your support. If you truly value and believe in supporting Black literature; please support AALBC.com by;

troy signature
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 – September 27, 2017 – Issue #249

July 25, 2017 Newsletter – Includes the Most Critically Acclaimed Books of the Last 40 Years

Another Brooklyn Banner Sponsor     

May – June 2017 Bestselling BooksBestselling Children’s Book Authors You’ll Love ♥

Children’s books outsold all genres for the May/June period. Fiction sales were the 2nd most popular genre, led by the sales of books from independent and small presses. Nonfiction sales, which are normally strong, were the weakest we have seen in the last 15 years, resulting in only two titles with enough sales to make our bestsellers list. Poetry sells each period for which we report, however sales sufficient to make a bestsellers list have not been reached since our Jan/Feb 2017 list.


The Most Critically Acclaimed Books of the Last 40 Years

 The Most Critically Acclaimed Books of the Last 40
The Most Critically Acclaimed Books of the Last 40 Years critically acclaimed books last 40 years The critically acclaimed books on this list have earned multiple honors; they have won awards, made our bestseller’s list, or were selected for inclusion on prominent book club’s reading lists.


Bestselling Children’s Book Authors You’ll Love

Bestselling Children’s Book Authors You’ll Love ♥

There have been 115 bestselling children’s book authors in the history of AALBC.com. So far 27 that have made that list 2 or more times. Most of these sales have taken place in the last couple of years as the volume of children’s book sales have picked up significantly. Many AALBC.com readers have already enjoyed the work of these writers I’m sure you will too.


Recently Reviewed Books

Masjid Morning Masjid Morning: A Novel by Richard Morris

Masjid Morning Masjid Morning: A Novel by Richard Morris – Reviewed by Alexis E. Jackson

Richard Morris’ Masjid Morning is a dedication to the millennial college student both embracing and learning how to live with religious and racial diversity. It is a testament to multi-racial relationships and exploration of current, dubious, religious anxieties and prejudices in regard to Muslims and their believed connection to terrorism. Through it all, Morris recognizes the importance of super-millennial attitudes exuding perseverance, the right to make our own decisions, and the triumph of love. Read our full review.


How is African American Literature Really Doing?

For those in the business of Black books, this is a common question we get; “How is African American literature doing?” Some find the question difficult to answer. I don’t, because the answer is simple; African American Literature doing very well. Read More.


Vote for Your Favorite Black Author of the 21st Century

Vote for Your Favorite Black Author of the 21st Century

Authors currently in the lead include Beverly Jenkins, Octavia Butler, Bernice McFadden, and Toni Morrison, who have garnered 25% of all votes cast! Join the hundreds of other voters and let your voice be heard by casting a vote for your favorite Black author. Authors may hail from any country in world.


Dear Reader,

Troy Johnson Literary Activist of the YearI try to highlight most of the new content added to the website, because I’m excited to share it with you. But given the sheer volume of new content that is added each day, a complete summary is not only impossible, but impractical. As a result, I’ve decided to focus on the most significant additions, which I hope will improve the newsletter.

The website upgrade, which I originally thought would take about six months, will be completed early next year after two years of significant effort. The enhancements have been numerous and significant. AALBC.com is now well suited to be the premier platform for Black literature today and for years to come.

As always, Troy, this website can only be as strong as it’s supporters. If you truly value and believe in my mission of celebrating Black literature; please support AALBC.com by;

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


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

AALBC.com Logo
AALBC.com eNewsletter – July 25, 2017 – Issue #247

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