Throughout my dozen years in this business (got my first book deal in Feb ’96 and the book came out in April ’97), one of the greatest rewards has been the tremendous support from bookstores in the African-American community. Many wonderful stores helmed by enthusiastic owners who hand-sold our books to readers have fallen by the wayside over the years, hard-pressed to contend with corporate behemoths like Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com, who, because of their size and buying power, can offer steep discounts the little guy could never match.
Unfortunately, another great black bookstore has fallen—this one a successful chain on the east coast called Karibu, whose owners created an environment that was not only beautiful and uplifting, but was a place for readers, writers, and the community in general to engage in cultural enlightenment and an appreciation of the word.
For once, this isn’t an instance of a business closing down for financial reasons. Still, they will be sorely missed.