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Resurgence in Interest in the Survival of Indie Bookstores


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Yesterday two articles, in which I was interviewed, on the subject of independent bookstores were published.  I was also interviewed for another article which appeared in Publishers Weekly earlier in the year that I completely forgot about.

It appears there is renewed interest in the plight of indie bookstores.  When I first noticed the trend I was alarmed by the apparent lack of concern by the media.  I'm not talking about mainstream media, because I know they don't care, but by the lack of concern by our own media.  

This lack of coverage by our own media, quickly learned was due to the problems they depth and seriousness of the challenges they faced themselves.

Of course I'm happy whenever someone wants to help shed light on the challenges indie booksellers face. 

Black-Owned Bookstores Soldier-On in the Fight to Survive and Thrive
by Tony Williams, Caribbean Book Blog (October 20, 2016)

Johnson also believes it is necessary for all the stakeholders to have a clear and comprehensive picture of the ‘Black Book Ecosystem’ so that they can have a more informed understanding of the various components and interact better with each other. To this end, the AALBC has meticulously compiled a treasure trove of data, including lists of Black-owned web-based and brick-and-mortar bookstores, Black-owned newspapers and websites and a host of other related information, all of which is freely accessible on the AALBC website. AALBC is also a widely recognized and avid promoter of authors, book and film reviews, book recommendations, event information, discussion forums, writer resources, interviews, articles and videos.

Black-owned indie bookstores look forward to the next chapter
by Kelsey McKinney, Fusion (October 20, 2016)

“There was a larger conversation about books 10 years ago than there is today,” Troy Johnson, the founder and president of AALBC, told me. “Ten years ago, this decline [in the number of black-owned bookstores] would have been big news.”

A Glimmer of Hope for Black-Owned Bookstores
by By Judith Rosen, Publisher Weekly (Feb 19, 2016)

Over the past five years, the American Booksellers Association has witnessed a resurgence in independent bookselling, yet the number of bookstores owned by African-Americans has continued to decline. Between 2002 and 2012, two-thirds of black-owned bookstores closed, according to statistics compiled by Troy Johnson, founder of the African-American Literature Book Club (AALBC). Of the roughly 400 stores that remained, more than half closed in 2013 and 2014. The closings continued in 2015, leaving only 67 black-owned bookstores at the end of January 2016.

Much of what motivates me to support independent bookstores is the knowledge of what we have lost and the realization is that there are fewer platforms with the desire to explain what is happening and why it is important.  

This is why articles like these are important and should circulated widely.



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Thanks. I'm sure the writers will appreciate it the sharing too @CDBurns.

Tony Williams is a pretty deep Brother.  He is more uniquely committed to other Black writers and supporters of literature.  His Blog is a treasure trove.  It reminds me of the type of blogs we have lost due to the changes in the nature of the web over that last decade.  It is interesting he used the word "soldier-on;"  this is precisely what you have to do in the current environment.  Tony is a soldier.

If it were not for Publishers Weekly there would probably be no mainstream coverage of the Black book ecosystem.

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