Black-owned bookshops to support now and always
An ongoing list of physical and online stores based in the US and the UK
By the Soho House team Above image courtesy of Cafe Con Libro Friday 5 June, 2020 Short read
Please note, we have put an asterisk next to those that have online shops.
This is in no way a comprehensive list – if you have any suggestions of shops you think should be included, please send us your suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be continuously updating this list as we receive your recommendations.
*The Lit. Bar
131 Alexander Avenue, The Bronx, NY 10454
Bronx native and resident, Noëlle Santos opened the doors to The Lit. Bar in April 2019. To date, it is the only independent bookstore in the entire borough.
Currently selling via Bookshop: bookshop.org/shop/thelitbar
*Café con Libros
724 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, NY 11216
An intersectional feminist bookstore, coffee shop and community art gallery opened by Kalima DeSuze in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
*Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery
515 N Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60642
Opened by founder DL Mullen in Chicago in 2019, Semicolon is currently the city’s only Black woman-owned bookstore and gallery space.
Currently selling via Bookshop: bookshop.org/shop/Semicolonchi
*Eso Won Books
4327 Degnan Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90008
Founders James Fugate and Tom Hamilton have been selling a vast selection of books on Black history and culture in south Los Angeles since 1990. They just reopened their doors last week after lockdown orders were eased.
Online orders normally available, but at the time of publishing, the store had paused online orders due to overwhelming demand.
*Ashay By The Bay
157 Albatrosse Way, Vallejo, CA 94589
Founded by Deborah Day in 2000, this shop is known as the leading Black children’s bookstore in California’s Bay Area.
1231 Good Hope Rd SE, Washington, DC 20020
Launched in 2007 by husband and wife duo Ramunda and Derrick Young as an online bookstore specialising in books written for, by, or about people of the African diaspora, Mahogany Books opened its first physical location in Washington, DC in 2017.
*The Key Bookstore
This Connecticut-based online Afrocentric bookstore specialises in science fiction, magical realism, fantasy, and horror written by Black women.
210 S 52nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19139-4002
Philadelphia’s oldest African-American-owned bookstore has been family-run since it opened in 1959.
258 E Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Named for Harriet Tubman, Jeannine A Cook opened the bookstore in Philadelphia in January, with a focus on women authors, artists and activists.
Online orders normally available, but at the time of publishing the store had paused online orders due to overwhelming demand. It is still accepting donations to support its business.
Inside Willow on Upshur, 843 Upshur Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
Founder Hannah Oliver Depp, a Black and queer bookseller, opened Loyalty Bookstore with the aim to diversify the book industry. Loyalty Bookstore hosts a virtual Antiracist Book Club that is a ‘safe, focused space in which to discuss the systematic structures of racism and the work we can do individually and community-wide to dismantle them.’
Black Stone Bookstore & Cultural Center
214 W Michigan Avenue, Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Opened in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in 2013, the store specialises in African-American and African books.
4240 Cass Avenue #105, Detroit, MI 48201
Founded by Janet Webster Jones, the daughter of a librarian and a retired educator from the Detroit Public Schools, Source Booksellers is a nonfiction bookstore and community space.
New Beacon Books
76 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 3EN
Founded in 1966 by John La Rose and his partner Sarah White, New Beacon Books was the UK’s first Black publisher, specialist bookshop and international book distributor.
*No Ordinary Bookshop
Angel Miller founded this online bookshop with a focus on selling works to educate children.
Butterfly Books was founded by brother and sister duo Kerrine Bryan and Jason Bryan to publish and sell career-themed children’s picture books.
*African Books Collective
A collective owned by its founder publishers, African Books Collective is a worldwide outlet for books from Africa including scholarly, literature and children’s books.
Jacaranda Books is an award-winning independent publisher of award-winning adult fiction, nonfiction and young adult fiction.
*BookLove, The Multicultural Travelling Book Carnival