Local sales of books on racial justice mirror national trends

Carmen Jaramillo
cjaramillo@ptleader.com
Posted 6/18/20

Readers across the country are turning their eyes toward books about racial justice this month, and Jefferson County readers are no exception. The Writers’ Workshoppe and Imprint Books has seen a dramatic increase in orders for books about racial issues.

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Local sales of books on racial justice mirror national trends

Posted

Readers across the country are turning their eyes toward books about racial justice this month, and Jefferson County readers are no exception. The Writers’ Workshoppe and Imprint Books has seen a dramatic increase in orders for books about racial issues.

Bookstore owner Samantha Ladwig said they received about 50 orders in two days last week — for not just single books but bulk orders of four or five books on the same topic. Even though the store has been closed to browsing, it has still been fulfilling orders taken through the store’s website.

Ladwig said titles like “How to be an Antiracist,” “So You Want to Talk About Race,” and “Me and White Supremacy,” are sold out across the nation as mass protests in all
50 states are sparking a conversation about policing and systemic racism.

Currently every book on The New York Times print and e-book nonfiction bestseller list is about racial justice.

Ladwig said she has even had people trying to order from out of state, from as far away as Los Angeles, California, to try and get their hands on sold-out copies.

The only other noticeable trend Ladwig has witnessed since taking over ownership of the store in October was an increase in order for books like “Plague” by Albert Camus when the coronavirus pandemic began to sweep the nation.

Ladwig said the main demographic of customers at her store reflect that of Jefferson County as a whole; generally older and white. She said maybe the reason people are taking this opportunity to educate themselves is because they have had their preconceived notions about race confronted in recent weeks.

“It’s exciting for people to be wanting to learn,” Ladwig said. “But it’s also sad that it had to come from what it did.”

Ladwig said she since she came in she has made it a priority to feature non-white authors across all genres. She said it can sometimes be difficult to balance purchasing books that will sell with books she believes people should be reading.

Her dedication to featuring authors of color is also a responsibility, she said, since it will in turn affect the publishing industry.

She recommends every reader seek to be more intentional with the books they read and know that being anti-racist goes beyond just educating yourself, but also into changing your behavior.

“The work doesn’t stop there,” she said. “Reading fiction books by queer or people of color authors is equally important. And it does make a difference.”

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Ellen Falconer

Olympic Peninsula Mindfulness is offering a free virtual book club where we will read books selected for their focus on race, equality, compassion, and common humanity. To learn more about the book club and to register: www.OlympicPeninsulaMindfulness.com

Wednesday, July 1