Borders Closures Could Hurt African-American Authors

Michele Lewis, owner of Afro-American Book Stop in New Orleans, spoke with The Louisiana Weekly on Monday about the imminent closure of two Borders in her city:

“Most Borders across the country have pretty large African-American sections, so I’m concerned about the future growth of African-American titles, authors, books, etc. Roughly 30% of the total amount of book sales for African-American authors come from Borders, so a number of our authors will no longer get publishing contracts. There are only about one-fourth of African-American bookstores across the country that were in business 10 to 15 years ago that are still open today.”

This article came just before the announcement last night that the NY Stock Exchange plans to take down the Borders stock listing on March 21.

Though the Borders closures has everyone in the book industry proceeding with caution, there is a pervading sense of optimism, one might even say opportunism, as we speculate on what losing a giant like Borders will mean for independent bookstores. So long as we don’t forget about our African-American authors in the rush.

What do you think: should more indie bookstores start stocking their shelves with African-American authors?

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