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Nkiru Books is Online


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Nkiru Books @Kwelickub 

@CDBurns, hey man thanks so much for shouting out AALBC.com in the comments of Talib's post.  It really does not cease to amaze me what celebrity can do.  The single post was liked by 24K people, shared by 6,500 and generated over 700 comments in less than 24 hours!

Now I don't know if they paid to promote the post, and I don't read anything on Facebook that I have not generated or been tagged on, but this is definitely one of the most popular posts I've seen in a long time.  Forgive me for not posting a link to the post; I have a personal policy against linking directly to Facebook.

I honestly don't think the viral reaction to Talib's post has anything to do with books and supporting bookstores; but is much more about Talib's celebrity and how easy it is to show support on Facebook.  It is so easy to click "like," but an entirely different thing to support a store by buying a book.

568179bda13fe_nkiru1.jpg.6f7d4eb694cb9d3Nkiru was truly an iconic bookstore.  I lived a couple of blocks away from the store and patronized it long before AALBC.com was invented.  

I actually highlighted Nkiru Books in my article, "Death of the Black Owned, Independent Bookstore," back in 2012.

Talib's mother, Dr. Brenda Greene is a professor at Medgar Evers College and runs the Center for Black Literature.  The Center also hosts the National Black Writers Conference, who I've worked with for over a decade. Dr. Greene is super supportive of AALBC.com.

Chris I also appreciate you suggesting that Talib reach out so that we may work together.  First, given the sheer number of responses I doubt he will even see it.  But even if he read the suggestion I would be very shocked if he took you up on that offer.  You know the reason why, as you explained it very well on your post about YouTube subscribers.  

The fact of the matter is that while I link to and promote every online or physical bookstore, that I'm aware of, other bookstores rarely return the favor.  In fact, I'm so accustomed the lack of reciprocated support I receive from other bookstores it no longer bothers or surprises me.  So, I'll promote Nkiru Bookstore Online as I supported Nkiru Books' physical bookstore (even before Talib brought the store from Ms. Miller).

On a related note, I purchased Talib's album Gravitas; I brought it not so much because I was interested in the music, but because I wanted to support him.  He wrote about the importance of independence and musicians making money from their work.  That resonated with me, for obvious reasons, so I purchased the music files and downloaded the liner notes.

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No problem. We have to continue to find opportunities to support each other and my sharing on his page is a way of using his celebrity to bring attention to what you've been doing all along. People won't look at it if a star isn't attached to... at least on Social media. (That's a generalization of course... but I think it's a very accurate generalization.)

Talib wrote an article on Medium about why he decided to go independent. I found that interesting because although he is a celebrity, even he has to use Medium to get a message to a broader audience. The work that he's doing for himself is admirable, but unfortunately it still isn't a path that others can take. He had a big studio deal and because of the years of mainstream "promotion" he's gotten he is able to reach the people that want to support him. I often find that, and I'm guilty of this, I will share or like the page of a "star" because the idea that they may check out what I'm doing could potentially lead to a shout out and some book sales. I've found though that over time even stars are guilty of not wanting to give any shine to someone that could be "threatening". Their is a definite chokehold on the eyes and ears of the masses which is unfortunate, but understandable.

Honestly, what he's doing is so much smaller than what you've done for us forever that he should have been reaching out to you without me tagging him in a post... which he probably won't reach out anyway.

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Yes the Nkiru effort is far less significant in terms of scale and depth, but that does not matter.  The most popular content on the website (produced by Black folks, for Black folks) tends to be rather shallow.  I'm not saying the Nkiru books online is a shallow effort; I just saying celebrity trumps depth every day of the week.

Chris, as you know, it is impossible for a celebrity to engage with the vast majority of people who engage them on social media.  Plus social media platform presents what will encourage engagement.  When I looked at Talib's post from my wife's computer I saw a completely different set up top responses--she didn't even see our exchange.  Plus just the sheer volume of responses make this impossible, if not impractical.  

Again, unless we are conscious and strategic about how we use social media we will never benefit from it.  With about 100 more of us, in the book space, working together we can make a difference.

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That is true. The moment a star or celebrity posts something the likes and information ring up. Now, I don't know how true it is that these guys can't see it and won't respond because some of the busiest people on Facebook, celebrity wise, will respond to almost all of their comments. I've seen this happen several times a week with business people and some music artists. With that said, I think these dudes can see this stuff. The only people that won't are folks that are like ridiculous megastars.

Either way I thought it would be good to tag you and share it with that page since you were one of the first people on the web to talk about the book store in any form. 100 people is a very big number. It doesn't seem like it, but it's hard to get 100 people to interact without some form of celebrity or controversy. 

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