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Power LIst - Best-Selling Books Read by African-Americans


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I knew at the top of the list would be fictional books about sexual fantasy.

But I'm glad to see that a very inspirational book I just got through reading was #4 on the non-fiction hardcover list:


The Wealth Choice by Dennis Kimbro


This is an excellent book; a guide for all would be AfroAmerican entrepreneurs....word is bond.


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Nah'Sun, it would help if literary fiction were promoted and marketed.

90% (conservatively) of my ad revenue comes from non-literary work. So when an Oprah embraces a book or a novel wins a white man's award, it becomes the book people know about. Of course platforms perportedly interested in sharing information about books focus on the award winning titles and what Oprah has picked -- because that is easy and cheap to do.

Site's like my own can no longer afford to subsidize the promotion of literary fiction as I once did. Of course I still do it, but it comes at a price (time energy and money). But in my effort to provide some semblance of balance I have to incurr this expense. Lately it feels like a loosing battle :-(

So if literary ficion dies it has no one to blame but itself.

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Nah'Sun, it would help if literary fiction were promoted and marketed.


So if literary ficion dies it has no one to blame but itself.



I wouldn't be so quick to say that


One Baltimore store owner once told me he refuses to sell books other than Street Lit

It's our own fault that there's hardly any variety because stores either refuse to market, promote or stock books other than Urban Fiction

Therefore, people are going to read what's available to them as many are too lazy to unearth new talent

Then you wonder why the game is so saturated with one thing

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"One Baltimore store owner once told me he refuses to sell books other than Street Lit"

Nah'Sun, the Baltimore bookstore owner is behaving in a completely rationale manner, essentially echoing my point.

While I'm lamentaing the difficutly of promoting literary fiction he has simply decided to not bother. I get that. It is the same decision many store owners and websites have adopted.

The literary titles appeal to a smaller demographic. The titles often require more effort to hand sell to those not familiar with the author or intimidated by the prose.

Plus, and I'm talking about myself here, as an indy website owner, literary authors/publishers provide no incentives to sell these books. The ad buys are few. When we review their work (a BIG expense) favorably, our reviews are not blurbed, I could go on.

It seems the literary authors and the publishers take the Black Independent booksellers for granted, instead focusing, perhaps, on a broader (read: white) audience.

Alice Walker http://aalbc.com/authors/alice.htm has three books coming out this year when I first started AALBC.com every indy website would haved mention this, today our folks might not even know about it. There are 60 to 70% fewer indy bookstores now, than there were when I started, and those that remain are mostly struggling or focused on the urban titles, so our communities will have less opportuniy to learn about this type of book.

The same goes for the Black book websites -- just visit a few and see how many are promoting Alice latest books?

I put up information about Alice Walker on my homepage, in an unsold ad slot, The urban authors who purchased advertising are SUBSIZING Alice Walker! It is easier for a website to do this, much harder for a physcial bookstore.

Don't blame the book stores.

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@ Troy


I don't blame Black literary fiction writers for focusing on the white demographic...white readers have a broader taste when it comes to fiction


It seems like negroes are enslaved to reading Urban fiction, Erotic, or Christian fiction


The only time they do read other genres is when either Oprah or the white man co-sign it (ex. The Help and Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy)


The Black readership choices are limited...simple as that


There's no accident that Black authors use pseudonyms when they write Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels

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This is almost like the chicken and the egg conversation.


Less than 20 years ago, Nah'Sun we complained about major publishers believing Black people did not read at all, and therefore assuming that publishing books for that demographic did not make business sense.


A few folks self-published made some money and only then did publishers recognize a business opportunity founded on the fact that Black folks actually do read. 


Today we are arguing that Black folks actually do read literary fiction. 


But at the rate things are going culturally, it may only a generation or two before books like Morrison's Beloved or Baldwin's essays are no longer read for pleasure or to challenge one's ideas.  Books like those will be relegated to Universities to be read by academics seeking post graduate degrees in some obscure area of study...

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@ Troy


You're forgetting that the Street Lit market was already tapped with Donald Goines, Iceberg Slim and Nathan Heard


The problem was that no one had carried the torch in the 80s to late 90s when they either passed away or stopped writing novels


Major publishing houses were foolish by looking at the intangibles instead of the tangibles of why Black people supposedly didn't read...the market was out there...they just weren't saavy enough to realize that history repeats itself


Sister Souljah's The Coldest Winter Ever had resurrected the genre...NOT create it


And you're right, a lot of Black literary fiction authors would be irrelevant or obsolete if it wasn't for Oprah's blessings and academic English departments


That's why a lot of Black authors shy away from writing literary fiction because they think:


A.) They wont sell


B.) There's no market for it


C.) Hardly anyone wants to think when they read...they wanna be entertained


I think literary fiction writers need some "swag" in their writings in order to keep up with the undiagnosed ADD culture of this microwave society

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"...undiagnosed ADD culture of this microwave society"


Someone should study this -- seriously.


It would be interesting to know what percentage of the Black community can actually read and enjoy a novel like Beloved -- both what percentage actually did read and enjoy it, and what percentage could, if given the opportunity.  Then compare how that percentage compares to the white population.


A non-Black friend turned me on to the novel Beloved years before I started AALBC.com.  I found the book challenging, but very enjoyable.  It never occurred to me why I had never heard of the book previously.  Like most Black men, I suppose, I was not tuned into the literary world.


This is just an anecdotal example of how I as a Black man was ignored, and continues to be ignored by publishers (often bookstores and authors too). 


All Black readers, not just men, are ignored in the literary fiction world as well.  With the exception of a few African writers, and Black writers writing for the majority audience, Black people are effectively ignored in the work of literary fiction.  Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, etc, are basically done writing books -- who is on deck? 


Perhaps publishers and even book-sellers consider the Black male demographic too small or expensive to acquire to bother with -- but it is not the publishing industry's job to generate this demand.  It is ours, if we think it is important.  If the Big 6 (or 5) publishers knew they could make money pubbing more literary fiction for Black people -- they would.


Until then we will just have to be satisfied with commercial fiction (urban, erotics, celebtrity) targeted to the female masses.

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@ Troy


It's funny because I've been riding NYC buses and subways since 2001, and I'll say 98 percent of the time I'll see Black women with an Urban Fiction book in their hands


It's like that's the only genre they enjoy reading


And the only time they'll read outside the Urban market is when books like Fifty Shades of Grey, The Great Gatsby and The Help either become popular or turned into movies


I also wanna throw in a James Patterson title...he's pretty much the Eminem of the book industry


The only time I was shocked to see a Black woman read a book that wasn't popular was when I saw her read Wretched of the Earth by Franz Fanon


I was floored :lol:

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