Troy Posted May 15, 2020 Report Share Posted May 15, 2020 In its day, the Harlem Book Fair 2000, was arguably the premier Black book fair. It certainly was 20 years ago. Read more about that particular book fair. In the past decade, not so much. I missed the last couple of years and I lived in Harlem at the time! A book could, and I believe should, be written about the Black books in the 21st century. If would be a tale of unfulfilled potential and promise, a story of the hope for agency and the ability to write and record our own history and stories. Maybe even the development and growth of more institutions like Johnson Publishing rather than the loss of them. The story is far from over and I think the pandemic is forcing people to reevaluate what is important to them and change their behaviors accordingly. If anything good comes of this pandemic that will be it. Over the past couple of days. I've been sharing photos of events AALBC has covered and participated in 20 years ago. I'm been trying to help people appreciate that by giving Amazon all of our business that platforms like AALBC will die, or never emerge. If that happens who will chronicle our stories, record our events? Amazon will never do it. We have already lost many websites with valuable information. There are two that immediately come to mind, sites whose articles and reviews are likely lost forever. I have always argued that the web is a less rich place because of Amazon and other massive corporate sites. In a recent interview on the Brown Bookshelf, I offered the following tips, "Three Tips for Children’s Book Creators and Lovers to Make a Difference." The tips apply to all authors and book lovers: Tip #1: Authors, When Telling Readers Where They Can Buy Your Book, Recommend an Independent Book Store Everyone knows you can buy a book from Amazon, but Amazon is not your best cheerleader. Indie bookstores are your most loyal supporters and we love authors who recognize this and return the love. Now if you are afraid of playing favorites, you’ll never go wrong by saying, “Buy at your favorite independent bookstore,” or “Buy wherever books are sold.” Now if your book is only available via Amazon, understand that you have effectively cut ties with your most ardent supporters. Tip #2: Readers, Buy Your Books From an Independent Bookseller I do not know a single bookseller who sells books to get rich. We sell books because we want to uplift our culture. The books we curate and put on our shelves (virtual and physical shelves) are there because we feel they are important. I’m not saying that indie booksellers do not have a profit motive – of course we do, but it is not our only motive. Stores that are purely profit driven have never served the Black community in the long term, they only extract wealth without ever contributing back into the community. Tip #3: Authors and Readers: Social Media is Good, but the Rest of the World Web is Great Visit some other sites that are related to your books. Join in the conversation and share their content with others. Sites like The Brown Bookshelf are a gift that cannot be replicated on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, or any of the most popular social media platforms social media platforms. Over the past decade we have lost countless book sites (related article: Black Book Websites Need Love Too). Again these site are the best promoters of children’s literature, they write the critical reviews, they interview the authors, they host and cover events, they identify and sell you the books you are most likely to enjoy. These sites are not driven by algorithms optimized to extract the most wealth from you, but by people who are about both the books and the people who read them. FYI: The photos are small and low resolution because 20 years ago, big images took too long to download. Harlem Book Fair 2000 National Black Writers Conference 2000 The National African American Cultural Expo Philadelphia 1999 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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