|Desmond Reid, owner of Dare Books, a once-popular book store in Brooklyn, New York that closed back in 2009 after more than 22 years|
What is happening to black-owned bookstores? By 2012, 66 percent of black-owned bookstores in America disappeared. Since that time, half of the remaining bookstores have also gone away. Is it something black bookstore owners are doing wrong? Not necessarily, according to The National Endowment for the Arts.
What is happening to black stores everywhere
The fact that black-owned bookstores are closing everywhere is not necessarily a negative reflection on the owners. One of the biggest problems in America right now is that people are not reading as much anymore. The National Endowment for the Arts stated as far back as 2004 that “…literary reading in America is not only declining among all groups, but the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young.” If reading is on the decline, bookstores are no longer a viable business.
There are, of course, other causes for the close of black bookstores, such as a weak economy, rise in rent costs for bookstore owners, and bad business management. But the largest, most contributing factor appears to be also the most disturbing factor, and that is the lack of interest in reading books. Even web sites that feature books by African Americans and about the African American culture are suffering.
With other sources of information available now through technology, black and white bookstore owners are facing a tough business environment. Some have suggested that, instead of just books, bookstore owners need to be creative to get people in the door by selling other products they would be interested in. Others have speculated that black bookstores have added to their demise by focusing just on the black community and need to expand their products to include books of interest to a wider community.
What do you think?
Read more at www.aalbc.com/blog/index.php/2014/03/31/54-black-owned-bookstores-remain-america/