This Website Makes It Easier to Buy Anti-Racist Books From Black-owned Bookstores

Locations are categorized by state, giving readers the option to support local businesses

Image from The Racial Justice Bookshelf
The Racial Justice Bookshelf provides a seamless way to support Black-owned bookstores. Racial Justice Bookshelf
Headshot of Minda Smiley

In the weeks since the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, books about anti-racism have consistently topped bestseller lists.

Many of these books have been purchased from the likes of Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To try and funnel some of these sales to Black-owned bookstores instead, a group of design and tech specialists have created a website that makes it easy to do so.

Called the Racial Justice Bookshelf, the site is divvied up in a few different ways. Visitors can shop by category, such as “activism and teaching” or “essays and poetry.” Once they’ve clicked on a book, the site displays a list of Black-owned bookstores that are currently selling it. Most books on the site were written by Black authors.

The Racial Justice Bookshelf also includes a directory that lists Black-owned bookstores by state.

“I was excited to see anti-racist books dominating bestseller lists a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn’t help wondering where the money from those sales was going,” Leah Rajaratnam, product management lead at digital product agency Work & Co, said in a statement. “We wanted to make it easy for anti-racist education to go hand in hand with supporting the Black-owned bookstores who have been spotlighting Black voices and stories for years.”

Rajaratnam collaborated with Maya Man, artist and technologist at Google Creative Lab, and freelance designer and art director John Soat on the project, which they plan to expand.

“This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we’ve aimed to include a wide range of work from Black intellectuals and creatives that includes everything from race and policy to food and fantasy,” the site reads. Anyone who wants to suggest a book that isn’t on the site can fill out this form.

@Minda_Smiley Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.