Posted on June 17, 2020

Do the Soaring Sales of anti-Racism Books Signal a True Cultural Shift?

Constance Grady, Vox, June 11, 2020

In the wake of the waves of police brutality at protests against the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other black people, Americans are turning to books to try to understand the United States’ history of structural and institutional racism. Over the past month, sales of books about anti-racism have surged dramatically.

Every one of the 10 books on the New York Times’s combined e-book and print nonfiction best-seller list this week is about anti-racism. The Times’s fiction list is topped by Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half, a just-released novel by a black author about race and colorism in America.

Industry tracker NPD BookScan reports that political science civil rights titles saw a sales jump of 330 percent from the week of May 17 to the week of May 23, while books about discrimination had a sales jump of 245 percent in the same time. Books like Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist and Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility are sold out everywhere.

The sales boom comes after a slew of publications responded to the George Floyd protests by publishing anti-racist reading lists. {snip}