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UK Black-owned independent bookshops to order from online now

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Megan Murray
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Explore the experiences of Black writers and support Black-owned bookshops with our guide to those based in the UK and currently taking online orders. 

Knowledge is power, which is why education through books is one of the most important tools in the fight against racism, and a crucial part of becoming an anti-racist ally.

If you’re interested in doing some reading on Black experiences, culture and history, we’re sure you’ll have looked into the many resources that are currently being shared online and across social media. 

But, before you go ahead and order a copy of some of the brilliant books about race out there from a huge online retailer, hold off and see if you can support a Black-owned bookshop instead.

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There’s a small pool of Black-owned bookshops across the UK that are currently closed due to the pandemic, but they’re still taking online orders.

So, swat up on our list of these independent bookshops which either specialise in texts that relate to Black culture, or are owned by a person of colour and spread the word to help them increase their sales and feel your support. We’ve also included the address of each store so that when they do open their doors again, you can go and say hello. 

  • Afrori books

    Afrori books is an extensive online bookshop that specialises in books by Black authors, with one of the biggest selections available to order in the UK.

    The idea for Afrori took off after the founders were met with continual frustration in their search for books by Black authors, which they found were “usually in one corner of a book shop, or if outside of London, hardly ever in physical shops.”

    The website has only been running for a few months and it’s already going from strength to strength.

    Address: online only

  • Imagine Me Stories

    Keisha Ehigie is a Nigerian-Jamaican mum who noticed that her young daughter was developing self-esteem issues when she couldn’t see characters that looked like her, or reflected her reality, in the story books she was reading. Ehigie did her own research and discovered that back in 2017 only 1% of UK children’s books had a Black main character.

    So, she started Imagine Me Stories, a monthly subscription box which seeks to empower children by providing books with Black main characters and Black history/African activities. 

    A one-off box is priced at £24, while three months is £68 and six months is £135. Each box includes two or three book with Black main characters and empowering activities. 

    Address: online only

  • Black Cultural Archives

    Black Cultural Archives is a library, exhibition space, cafe and shop which dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain.

    The archives stocks both fiction and non-fiction books focused on Black British history and experiences, and is known to be a simply wonderful place to spend time and enrich your mind.

    Address: 1 Windrush Square, Brixton, London, SW2 1EF

  • African Books Collective

    Black-owned bookshops
    Black-owned bookshops: African Book Collective

    African Books Collective is an online resource which champions African publishers based in Africa, but with a distribution centre in Oxford making it much easier to order their texts if you live in the UK.

    From children’s books to non-fiction, the website offers all sorts of genres to explore. It’s also celebrating 30 years of trading this year – what an achievement!

    Address: online only  

  • Sevenoaks Bookshop

    The Sevenoaks Bookshop is a charming space, located in leafy greater London, south of the centre. The history of the name dates back to 1948 and since then there’s been four owners, most recently Fleur Sinclair who has been at the helm since 2015.

    Fleur’s enthusiasm and warmth is evident from the book shop’s social media presence, as is her interest in both physical and online events, all of which are perfect for any bookworms who want to get involved.

    As the website says, the shop is delivering books “anywhere and everywhere!” so this is a brilliant resource to buy your books from while in lockdown.

    Genres range from travel, fiction, food, Black Lives Matter and more. 

    Address: 147 High Street, Sevenoaks, TN13 1XJ

  • Round Table Books

    Round Table Books is an inclusion-led bookshop in the heart of Brixton which specialises in underrepresented children’s books, writers and illustrators. It was co-founded by Aimée Felone, who also co-founded Knights Of, an independent publisher championing inclusivity. On top of all this, Felone works on a crowdfund called #inclusiveindies aiming to keep diverse independent publishers and booksellers going through the pandemic.

    Unfortunately, the store’s online facilities are currently on pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but they are still accepting orders online. And, while it may take a little longer to get hold of your books, we think supporting this little shop is well worth the wait.

    Address: 97 Granville Arcade, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8PS.

  • New Beacon Books

    New Beacon Books was actually the UK’s first ever Black publisher, specialist bookshop and international book distributor, after being founded by John La Rose and Sarah White in London in 1966.

    It covers a range of genres from fiction and non-fiction to poetry and children’s books, all from Africa, Caribbean, Asia, African America, Europe, South America and Britain. 

    New Beacon Books was in danger of closing permanently in 2017 because of dwindling sales and much of their custom drawn to retailers such as Amazon. But after a community crowd funding project raised £12,000 to keep the bookshop open, it has continued to stand as valuable and much-loved institution of learning for generations to come. This is something we’re sure you’ll agree needs to be continued. 

    Address: 76 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 3EN

  • Pepukayis Books

    Pepukayis Books specialises in African-centred books and fostering a space for learning and celebration of African culture in the UK to support the Black community. 

    It usually sits within The Maa Maat Cultural Centre,  but you can buy a of selection books online, too. 

    Address: The Maa Maat Cultural Centre, 366a High Road, Tottenham, N17 9HT

    Image: Unsplash 

  • Books of Africa

    Books of Africa is an bookstore and publishers which works on making a whole range of books on history, literature, science, economics, poetry, fiction and finance available to the masses, written by mainly authors with African descent. 

    With a dedication share the African experience and view all over the world, Books of Africa has an impressive amount of tomes on this subject and would be a goldmine for anyone looking to further their understanding in this area specifically. 

    Address: 16 Overhill Road, East Dulwich, London SE22 0PH

    Image: Unsplash 

  • Jacaranda Books

    Jacaranda Books is an award winning independent publisher and bookshop which focuses on showcasing diverse authors both online and in store. 

    You’ll find that most of the store’s books fall into the fiction, non-fiction or young adult categories, which centre around the voices and experiences of Black people, people of colour, women and other underrepresented voices.

    There’s a curated selection online of Team Jacaranda’s favourite titles including Womanish by Kim McLarin, which is next on our reading list. 

    Address: 27 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1N 3AX

  • No Ordinary Bookshop

    As a mother and grandmother, Angel Miller, has experienced how it feels to read books to your children which don’t reflect them. 

    She knew this needed to change, so she started No Ordinary Bookshop which specialises in children’s books for children of colour, showing a diverse range of characters so that all can recognise themselves in their pages.

    Address: online only

If you know of any UK bookshops that support Black writers let us know by dropping megan.murray@stylist.co.uk a line and we’ll add to our list. 

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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