Troy Posted October 27, 2015 Report Share Posted October 27, 2015 Periodically I run a process which updates the my list of websites dedicated to Black books. I've been doing tracking Black book websites for well over 10 years. Before I ran the process today I had 55 sites; after running the process I now have 42--that is almost of 1/4 of the sites! Surely something was wrong, I mean how could so many sites disappear so quickly? Well I checked, and nothing was wrong. At least nothing was wrong with my code. We've a lost bunch of websites, dedicated to Black books in recent years including many quality sites like, A Place of Our Own, The Urban Book Source, Azizi Books and many others. One can only come to a few conclusions: Sites which celebrate Black culture through books are irrelevant or obsolete Black books are covered adequately by the corporate sites Black people don't read, and no one else reads Black books People who should care have no clue what is happening One or more of the above could indeed be the stark reality. But obviously I don't believe that. However watching sites, run by people more knowledgeable and passionate about book, than I will ever be, is a very discouraging and a great loss to us all. But I feel like I'm the only nut running around complaining. Turning into an old curmudgeon, bitching about the way things used to be... Of course I appreciate that I run one of these websites so I'm far more sensitive to this issue than most. But there are still readers out there right? Don't they miss these websites? I know I do. Almost 5 years ago, when I noticed this trend, I wrote an article called, "Black Book Websites Need Love Too." In hindsight, I realize what probably killed most of those websites was their lowered ranking in search. I know AALBC.com took a big hit back in late 2010 due to a Google algorithm change. Many other websites did too, but I suspect most were not sophisticated enough to know what happened, which is the first step in knowing how to react. This was the main reason I began advocating for indie sites. Creating Huria Search, trying to get sites to work with each other, etc. Most sites just folded or reacted by turning to social media. I began using social media more aggressively myself--even helping others to do the same. The results are that our efforts on social media have enriched the owners of social media, and impoverished our own platforms, aggravating the problem further. All I can say to anyone that cares, is to try to support the few sites that remain http://aalbc.org/otherwebsites.htm. Buy something from them every once in awhile. Side bar: I was on Cheryl Wills website and noticed that Cheryl is explicitly directing readers to buy her book at an independent book seller! You don't see authors doing this very much any more. This is important because it strengthens the stores, when in turn strengthens the writers. Now Hueman, which was founded started in Denver, by Clara Villarosa back in the 1980's was one of the country's premier bookstores. That store ultimately closed. Clara ultimately relaunched the store in Harlem and it was ultimately taken over by Marva Allen. The Harlem store eventually closed, taking with it the last remaining bookstore in historic Harlem. But Hueman continues to do events and runs a website. Authors like Cheryl help the iconic Hueman brand persist. Cheryl has also been supportive of AALBC.com. We need more authors like Cheryl Wills. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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