Yesterday, I received the news that Karibu Books, the nation's largest black-owned bookstore chain, announced that it would be closing its doors. Shock was the first emotion to come to mind, followed by a slight twinge of anger, then sadness. Karibu closing? This store has been a huge inspiration for us here at Azizi Books. In an environment where independent bookstores are shutting their doors faster than ever, knowing that Karibu books was alive, kicking, and achieving success was a message to us that we could do it too. We looked up to Karibu. This is truly a sad event. Owners say that financial reasons were not the cause of closing.
Washington Post Article About Karibu Books Closing
Come on people, we need these businesses! Our communities need these stores. There are so many great books for us our there, for children and adults alike, that need African American bookstores around to carry them. You can't find them in the large chain stores or online retailers. So what happens without the Black bookstore? We lose part of our voice. Of course there are still many of African American writers who will have no problem getting exposure, but what about the other voices? They may not be as loud, but they still have something important to say.