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Bestselling Author Robin DiAngelo Actively Supports Black-owned Bookstores


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Over the years I’ve asked many authors, whose work I've been extremely supportive of, through book sales and promotion, to provide a link to AALBC, or any Black-owned bookseller's site, as an option for visitors to buy their books.  This simple action does not typically occur to most authors, and certainly to no publisher. 

 

Usually when I ask an author to add a buy link to AALBC, they do it, and express embarrassment for not doing it sooner. Sometimes however, the request is denied, and some variation of, "I don't want to show favoritism to any given bookstore," is given as the reason. One author told me, recently, that their publisher advised them against linking to a specific store.

 

All of the authors I've ever asked to link to a Black-owned bookstore, were already sending readers to Amazon's website to buy books.  I always found it curious that none of these authors considered they were explicitly showing favoritism to Amazon.

 

Recently the most "woke" authors and publishers believe linking to Bookshop.org provides readers with a good substitute, or alternative, to linking directly to a Black-owned bookstore's website. While linking to Bookshop is marginally better than linking to Amazon (who AALBC Boycotts), lets be be clear:

 

Linking to bookshop.org DOES NOT help Black-owned booksellers.

 

If you truly want to support a Black-owned bookseller — send readers to their websites, because the bookstores will make MUCH more money selling the books directly rather than linking to bookshop.org, who, like Amazon, collects the majority of profits from those sales.

 

Today I discovered, author Robin DiAngelo, whose book, White Fragility, the #1 selling book on AALBC for August 2020, links to three (count 'em) Black-owned booksellers from her website!

 

Image showing Robin DiAngelo linking to Black-owned websites

 

Now I've sold Black books on the web for the better part of 25 years.  There are few, if any who have done this for as long as I have. I have also visited countless author websites during this time, easily more than 10,000.  So when I say something is surprising this comes with an incredible amount of experience.  Robin DiAngelo surprised me. DiAngelo is also white.

 

Why does a highly-visible, bestselling, white author link to multiple Black-own bookstores. When Black authors, of the same stature do not? 

 

Lets look a few websites of Black authors with books that are have similar prominence as Robin's White Fragility, and see where these author's send visitors to buy their books.  By the way, AALBC links to all of these author's websites and the books cited are all AALBC bestsellers.  None of these authors link to AALBC or any other Black-owned bookseller.

 

  • Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, sends book buyers to Bookshop
  • Ijeoma Oluo, author of So You Want to Talk About Race, links to her publisher's website (who in turn links to, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Target, Books-A-Million, Powell's, Indiebound, Hudson Booksellers, and Bookshop)
  • Layla Saad, author of  Me and White Supremacy send readers to (in the US) Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, and Bookshop
  • Isabel Wilkerson, author of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, tell readers to go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Target, Books-A-Million, Powell's, Indiebound, and Hudson Booksellers
  • Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, links to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s Books, and Bookshop.org

 

Sadly, I can do this all day...  

 

The point is not to beat up on any given author but to illustrate how pervasive this problem is.  Recently Oprah Magazine published an article, “12 Authors Share Their Favorite Black-Owned Bookstores.” The article also shared books that were recently published by the authors, but when linking to places to buy these books Oprah Magazine did not send readers to any of the Black owned stores mentioned; instead readers were to a white owned bookseller!

 

We universally support white-owned booksellers and act as if Black-owned booksellers are being boycotted. Why?


Whenever a Black person would buy an identical product from a white-owned store, over a Black-owned on, we would say that was because they believed, "The white man's ice is colder." That phrase, along with the insight to recognize it as appropriate, is long gone. In 2020 the white man's ice must indeed be colder, at least based upon our collective behavior.

 

If you want to support a Black-owned bookstore it is easy. Send readers to our stores too!  Your actions speak MUCH more loudly than your words and the discrepancy is felt by the Black-owned bookstores you say you support.

 

I think DiAngelo is on to something.  Hopefully it will catch on!

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