Where’s the Diversity in Book Stores?
More light is being shed on the lack of diversity in publishing and it is super clear that there isn’t a lot of spotlights being put on authors of color when they deserve to be recognized just as much as everyone else. Learning about all these books that I’ve been missing out on it made me think about the many trips I’ve taken to Barnes & Nobles.
Did I see those books on the shelves? Displayed as prominently as other books to draw the eye to the book covers? Was I just missing them? I decided that this was a post that needed to be put out there and a discussion that I wanted to have. So here we go…
I took this back in January when I was last in B & N, before the world went to shit. It’s just a random aisle, not one that I would take a book from because I’m more of a YA or Horror kind of reader when I got there but I’m using it as an example, besides Toni Morrison. How many authors aren’t white on these shelves? Is there diversity in book stores?
I was able to find only one other black author, that I could see in the picture, and two non-white authors in the mix. Can you spot more? I’d really be interested to know if you could because this is really making me think .
My book shelves are filled with a majority of books by white authors. They are great books and I’m so glad that I’ve gotten to read them but what other books have I missed out on? Of course I can’t put the blame solely on B & N. I could, at any time, utilize the internet to find books that are more diverse and look for them in the store.
However that’s not really my issue. My issue is that when I walk into a book store, I’m not there for a specific book. I’m there to shop, to browse, to find a book that draws my attention. I buy a book based on two things, the cover and the blurb. I don’t pay attention to the author name, or any picture if there is one. So it’s not that I’m avoiding diverse books because I have an issue with them or dislike them at all. But I’m not seeing them! I want to see them, I want to know that they are being shown off as clearly as all the other books. I want to see the diversity in book stores!
But I don’t know that, and that bothers me to no end. I don’t want to have to walk through the aisles and look up every book to see who the author is. I don’t think that’s fair really to not buy a book simply because of the skin color of the author. I’m also not going to B & N any time soon what with this whole pandemic thing so I can’t even fully double check this.
Am I wrong? I don’t know but I feel like I’m not as sad as that is to say in this day and age. Naively I just assumed that the genre’s that I read didn’t have POC writing them, lord that’s stupid. I didn’t even check! Or ask, or look into but that doesn’t take away from the fact that someone goes into a book store to buy books so shouldn’t I see books by a wide range of authors when I shop?
I don’t want to change how I buy books in a store, but I also don’t want there to be stores that aren’t giving all authors space on their shelves. There has to be diversity in book stores because it’s 2020 for crying out loud and these authors deserve to be seen too. So have you been to B & N lately? I’d love to know what everyone else thinks and if they have a different opinion.