Sales Soar for Antiracism Books and Titles by Black Creators

Book about racism and antiracism and those by black creators are in high demand, for adults and children.

The protests and conversation happening across the country in the last week have sent many white Americans to books, particularly those titles found on antiracism lists.

Eso Won Books, a black-owned bookstore in Los Angeles, reported an “incredible surge” of customers in the last week, most looking for antiracism titles, specifically Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist, according to the LA Times. The book sold out in one day and has taken orders for nearly 400 copies since. (The Los Angeles Public Library had all 326 digital copies checked out and a waiting list of more than 1,300 people, according to the article.)

Other titles in great demand include So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo.

The rising demand is happening at children’s bookstores, too.

In Los Angeles, Children's Book World has always been a source for diverse titles and books about racism, antiracism, cultural histories, and social justice.  

"We always have sales on these titles because we always carry these titles and feature them as our favorites," the store's general manager Brein Lopez wrote in an email.  That said, sales have "skyrocketed," according to Lopez.
 
"We were lucky because we had many of these titles on hand before most of them went on backorder," Lopez said. 
 
The most popular titles for customers at Children's Book World include Something Happened In Our Town by Marianne Celano, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You by Jason Reynolds and Kendi, Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester, Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker RhodesSulwe by Lupita Nyongo, The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, and Kendi’s forthcoming board book AntiRacist Baby, which is scheduled to be released on June 16.
 
"We are well prepared to continue to serve our customers while waiting for publishers to fulfill demand on backordered titles," said Lopez. "We want every child and adult to see themselves reflected on our shelves. The current public crisis has our customers both new and old seeking help for themselves and their families to find stories that engage further conversations about Black American experiences and what we can do to make positive change immediately."
 
READ: 50 Board Books Featuring Faces of Color
 
Across the country, in Brooklyn, sales are seeing similar spikes.
 

“Absolutely, we've seen an increase in sales on racism and antiracism and in books about black changemakers and books by black creators,” Maggie Pouncy, co-owner for Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab said via email. “So inspiring to see!

"We have signed copies of The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson, a beautiful picture book that won the Caldecott Medal this year and that has been our best seller this week. We also sold out of Not My Idea by Anastasia Higginbottham, a book that confronts whiteness and white supremacy.”

A check of the Amazon children’s books sales charts on Friday morning showed Kendi’s  AntiRacist Baby, as the site’s No. 1 best seller in children’s books in the U.S., followed by Let’s Talk About Race and The Color of Us by Karen Katz

The top five books in overall sales were White Fragility, So You Want To Talk About Race, How to be an Antiracist, We're Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Katz, and Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning. Jason Reynolds’s reworked version for kids, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, was No. 16.

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Kara Yorio

Kara Yorio (kyorio@mediasourceinc.com, @karayorio) is news editor at School Library Journal.

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