The Publishing Post
Black-Owned Book Businesses
In celebration of Black History Month, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite Black-owned UK bookshops and bookish businesses! From brick-and-mortar stores to online subscription services, there are a wide range of businesses for you to support, all year round.
New Beacon Books
New Beacon books have been in the game for a long time now, and are a brilliant place to stop for recommendations in poetry, fiction and non-fiction books from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, African America, Europe, South America and Black Britain. Self-confessed specialists in African and Caribbean literature since their founding in 1966, this shop was the UK’s first Black publisher, specialist bookshop and international distributor, and have been adored by their customers for over 50 years since. This was proven in 2016 when they announced their closure due to concerns around funding. Thankfully, the local community rallied around this pioneering bookstore and raised £12,500 to help support New Beacon and aid their survival in the 21st century. New Beacon now has a gorgeous new website and store in London, filled with a long list of books across a range of genres. Drop by their store or pop online to order best-sellers such as Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams and The Autobiography of Malcolm X, or have a browse and discover your new favourite read.
Round Table Books
Aimée Felone and David Stevens decided to create Knights Of, their own publishing house for children’s books, after the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) found that of more than 9,000 children’s books published in the UK in 2017, just 1% had a BAME main character. The publishing house was a success, and at the one year anniversary of ‘Knights Of’ the pair created a pop-up bookstore, selling books with BAME main characters, in Brixton for one week only. This exciting little pop-up store caught the attention of readers all over the world, and highlighted a need for inclusive bookish spaces in the UK. Within two days they had sold out of their stock and had to order more. Two years later and they’re still going strong! What started as a little pop-up store in 2018 has since blossomed into a fully-fledged bookstore, offering inspiring, comforting, and familiar stories to children across the UK. With stories aimed at children aged 0-4 all the way up to young adult, you’re sure to find something that will entertain a little loved one (or yourself!).
No Ordinary Bookshop
Selling fiction and non-fiction for and about Black, mixed race, and dual heritage children, this online only bookstore caters for all your bookish needs. No Ordinary Bookshop’s founder, Angel Miller, says that it was her passion to educate children that led her to create this bookstore. Books in the ‘Social Issues’ section make it easy for parents and teachers to find learning resources, whereas, ‘World Books’ offer up plenty of dual-language books that allow parent and child to bond over reading - even if both are trying to grasp the English language. She also wanted children to have a space where they could find books where they can identify with the superhero or princess - something she felt was lacking in the books her own children read. Thankfully, you can now find plenty of these books on her website. Recently, due to popular demand, No Ordinary Bookshop also expanded their range to include books for adults, stating on their website that “reading is an integral and important part of our whole life”. So whether you are shopping for your next favourite Black poet, or searching for teaching resources for your children, we recommend taking a look at No Ordinary Bookshop. We also recommend keeping an eye on their instagram page where Angel occasionally announces pop-up stores.
Imagine Me Stories
Imagine Me Stories is a monthly book subscription box delivering hand picked books that feature Black main characters. Receiving a book (and activities) through your letterbox is exciting enough, but when these books are ones that feature characters that your children can identify with and relate to, it’s even better. Your child can enjoy the mini box subscription where they will receive one specially selected book, as well as fun Black History activities through the post every month. Or, you could make it a family affair and splash out on the Family Combo box. This box includes five different books and plenty of activities so everyone can join in. Boxes can also be ordered as a one off gift, so it’s really easy to try it out or treat someone you love. Head over to Instagram and YouTube to watch unboxing videos and have a sneak peak of what might be inside your next box.