Even in the age of the internet and social media, books continue to serve as important tools to educate and entertain ourselves. And let's be honest, there's nothing better than curling up with a good book! When you're searching for independently published authors of color or banned books from Black authors who speak from a truly authentic voice, it can be a challenge to find what you are looking for.

Luckily, a variety of Black-owned bookstores across the country have stepped up to give voracious readers a safe haven to discover Black authors of the past and give new writers a platform to sell their works. Nestle yourself between the stacks inside these 10 Black-owned bookstores the next time you’re in their towns. 

For Keeps Bookstore, Atlanta

Rosa Duffy’s bookstore on Auburn Avenue is a love letter to Black literature, and the establishment has received recognition from director Ava DuVernay. For Keeps' invaluable collection of Black literature makes it function both as an archive and a bookstore, as some books can only be read in-store but not purchased. Duffy strives to spread greater access to Black history and culture through literature; she uses the space to host events and charity drives. Her devotion to her community has kept For Keeps Bookstore running strong in the busy city of Atlanta, and it's earned a strong fan base of supporters, both global and local.

Adanne, Brooklyn, New York

Adanne founder Darlene Okpo has a mission to provide books that will help Black readers give back to their own communities and spaces. Adanne’s cozy and relaxed atmosphere and design help each customer feel relaxed enough to take their time while browsing through titles, and she invites community members in for weekly gatherings and discussions. Okpo also uses her shelf space to entice and provide Brooklyn shoppers and other visitors with rare books by Black authors. 

Hood Book Headquarters, Detroit

Established by Michel Moore, Hood Book Headquarters is dedicated to helping connect customers to books by under-promoted Black authors in the industry. Moore, an independently-published writer of her own collection of urban books and stories, opened an official store in late 2016, but has served her community with greater access to urban novels for over a decade.  

Semicolon Bookstore, Chicago, Illinois

Danielle Mullen’s popular neighborhood gem, Semicolon Bookstore, was always envisioned as a place to purchase books and as a welcoming neighborhood hub. The bookstore is a celebration of local authors and artists, as well as other BIPOC created works of literature and art. Perhaps most importantly, Semicolon Bookstore is a safe haven for community members to talk and relax with others when they feel like they’re in a rough place. 

Octavia's Bookshelf, Pasadena, California

Taking inspiration for its name from celebrated Black fiction author Octavia E. Butler, this independently owned bookstore prides itself on carrying books by authors of color. Founder Nikki High, a passionate reader herself, has made it her mission to share these books in the hopes of inspiring dozens of future readers and authors by showing them greater representation in the literary world. The bookstore invites readers of all backgrounds to grab a cup of coffee and discover a pool of new authors to dive into.  

Baldwin & Co., New Orleans

Thanks to owner DJ Johnson's contributions to the New Orleans region, Baldwin & Co. has gone beyond just being a bookstore. It is a pillar of the neighborhood. The bookstore offers access to free books, food, tutoring services and live entertainment for children and adults. Named after legendary Black author James Baldwin, the store is invested in bettering the community. It encourages literacy and education for Black youth through its wide offering of titles, programs and events. 

The Noir Bookshop, St. Louis, Missouri  

The Noir Bookshop has one main goal: to help the community of St. Louis gain a better understanding of their identities through Black and brown literature. The store itself offers a curation of new and pre-owned copies of books by Black and brown authors, as well as charity drives and food services. With the help of local leaders, owner Ymani Wince has continued to fulfill her goal of empowering the neighborhood through education and inspiration. 

Detroit Book City, Detroit

Detroit Book City caters to Black families and adults alike, with owners Reginald and Janeice Haynes serving the local population by selling a host of pre-owned and new books from indie authors. Their dedication to the community led to the creation of BookUp! Literacy Day to encourage local children and students to purchase books and foster their love of reading. Avid readers near Detroit will make this bookstore a regular stop thanks to its frequent author book reading events and its healthy inventory of obscure books by Black authors.

Cafe Con Libro, Brooklyn, New York

Billing itself as a feminist Afro-latina owned bookstore, this Brooklyn location aims to spotlight stories from girls and women of color. The store offers a selection of audiobooks and signed editions of books for readers to get their hands on, which can be enjoyed with a menu of coffee and tea options.The store also hosts feminist and “Womxn of Color” book clubs to open up conversation and encourage the growth of relationships and even self-healing through literature. 

Black and Nobel, Philadelphia

Hakim Hopkins’ store Black and Nobel provides the neighborhood with more than just books, but a healthy serving of Black culture. Along with stocking his shelves with books from independent Black authors, customers will find a variety of DVDs, flags, Caribbean-inspired smoothies, and even shea butter. A stand-out store in Philly, Black and Nobel goes beyond its own community and ships books to prisons to benefit those who are incarcerated.