Nothing quite says fall like hunkering down with a good book and comforting mug full of your preferred hot beverage. But no matter what it is you choose to read this season, consider picking it up from one of many Black-owned bookstores. Not only can spending your money mindfully help support Black businesses — and in turn encourage more of them — but because many of these shops specialize in books about race and culture specifically, shopping here might just inspire you to fill your fall reading list with resources that educate and inform you.
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement (and the coming of COVID-19), many consumers are more conscious of where they spend their money, from the brand that makes your lipstick to the non-profits to which you're donating. So why should where you buy your books from be any different?
Many small businesses — including independently owned bookstores — have been greatly impacted by the pandemic (although pivoting to online sales have kept some afloat). Seeking out businesses that aren't only amplifying Black voices, but are also founded by Black voices themselves might seem like a small step, but it's one that has the power to create bigger changes.
To help you out, ahead find 10 Black-owned bookstores across the U.S. that will not only inspire what you're reading this season, but can greatly benefit from getting your dollars. While some of their brick-and-mortars still remained closed or with limited shopping availability, they all offer online options so you can support them wherever you are.
Black-Owned Bookstore: Eso Won Books
Located in South Los Angeles, Eso Won Books has been beloved by the city since opening in the 1980s — even counting prominent author Ta-Nehisi Coates as one of its fans. For those who live in the LA area, you can visit during limited hours Monday through Saturday, but for everyone else, the online shop is open 24-7.
Black-Owned Bookstore: Loyalty Bookstore
Founded by Black, female, and queer owner Hannah Oliver Depp, this Washington D.C./Maryland-based bookstore prides itself on its diverse collection. Both physical store locations are currently closed, but you can check out staff picks or place orders through the online shop.
Black-Owned Bookstore: Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery
As Chicago's only Black woman-owned bookstore, Semicolon stocks its shelves with books by Black authors, resources on race, and other finds focused on diversity. Don't live in the area? Search the online shop for what you're looking for, or browse from curated selections.
Black-Owned Bookstore: Underground Books
This Sacramento-based shop has been a hub of its Oak Park neighborhood since opening nearly 20 years ago. Currently it's open for limited in-store shopping, curbside pickup, and shipping online orders.
Black-Owned Bookstore: For Keeps Books
Atlanta's For Keeps Books was first opened as a spot to find rare books, and, in pre-COVID times, offered a reading room that was a cultural cornerstone in its neighborhood. Until it can safely reopen, you can still shop from tons of curated options online, including hard-to-find texts from Toni Morrison, Huey P. Newton, Alice Walker, and more.
Black-Owned Bookstore: Frugal Books
From YA books to political resources, there are so many unique finds to sift through at this Boston-based bookstore. Those who live close to the shop — located in the Roxbury neighborhood — can stop in for limited in-person shopping, or you can browse online from anywhere in the world.
Black-Owned Bookstore: Shelves
This mobile bookstore has popped up at different locations across Charlotte, North Carolina, since opening last summer. Specializing in educational books — for both adults and little ones — Shelves has been thriving online during the pandemic, so it's a great place to find your next fall read.
Black-Owned Bookstore: The Lit. Bar
This woman-owned, Bronx-based indie bookstore normally offers wine sipping and community events in its space, in addition to its stock of diverse reads, but until social gatherings are deemed safe in the city again, you can support The Lit. Bar by shopping from its online selection.
Black-Owned Bookstore: Cafe Con Libros
Brooklyn's Black-owned, feminist indie bookstore and cafe is still a bustling neighborhood spot offering books and coffee for pick-up, but — thanks to Bookshop — you can also browse from hundreds of titles online, too.
Black-Owned Bookstore: Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books
Located in Philly's Germantown neighborhood, this bookstore/coffee shop functions as a community space, offering resources and events to support and educate. But even those who don't live in the area can support its efforts by shopping online.