Spike in demand for books on race following George Floyd protests

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Shaker Heights bookstore sold out of most popular books on race

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW)– The worldwide protests centered around the death of George Floyd and police brutality is sparking a new movement: reading about race.

On Wednesday, books on race relations were outselling the “Hunger Games” on Amazon’s best-selling book list, in addition to appearing on several categories of the New York Times Bestseller lists.

At Loganberry Books, an independently-owned and operated Shaker Heights bookstore, it’s sold out of many of the most popular books on race.

“We’ve seen an amazing uptick in the requests for books specifically on anti-racism,” said Elisabeth Plumlee-Watson, bookstore manager.

Plumlee-Watson said the majority of people requesting books on the topic of race are white readers.

“We’ve had an outpouring of requests for ‘White Fragility’ by Robin DiAngelo and ‘How to be an Anti Racist’ by Ibram X. Kendi.”

Plumlee-Watson said the books are so popular, they don’t have any currently in store. 

“This is why they’re not even on Amazon because all the books in the country that were made that were of printed in terms of physical books are sold out,” she said. “We’ve heard from the publishers that they’re actually going back to press and they’re manufacturing a lot more of these books as fast as they can.”

Readers in store said social media increased their desire to read about race.

“A lot of influences and even my friends were sharing podcasts and documentaries and books and I’m like, ‘Well, look at all this media, I have time I’m not working, quarantine, that I can just like dive in and educate myself more on it,'” Samra Karamustafic said.

Plumlee-Watson said sales of books on black studies and race studies between May 10 and June 10 2020 increased 300 percent from the same time period in 2019.

She named “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla Saad and “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi as other highly-requested books.

This month, the Cleveland Public Library issued a letter regarding its commitment to an inclusive community. A spokesperson said they are also seeing a similar trend in books on race. A check of popular books on the topic online shows many books titles are on hold at the library.

“If you’re a white person or white-passing person experiencing white privilege, then it’s your job to actively work to take down racism,” Plumlee-Watson said.

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