Customers trying to buy the same ten titles from the Frugal Bookstore, a Black-owned independent bookshop in Boston, have started hounding the store for not shipping orders faster.
In an email to customers sent Monday, the bookstore wrote that they have received over 20,000 orders as of June 22, with 75 percent of those orders for the same unidentified titles. While the titles go unnamed, one can safely assume that they’re probably talking about books related to anti-racism, as recommended reading lists for white allies looking to finally learn about racism have been continuously promoted and published in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests. On June 10 Frugal told CBS that orders for anti-racist books have skyrocketed recently, with titles like How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo on back-order at the shop. These titles have also climbed Amazon’s bestseller list, where White Fragility is currently out of stock.
Publishers of those titles are also selling out at other Black-owned bookstores, Frugal writes, and publishers will need to reprint those titles due to demand. But that hasn’t stopped customers from calling and emailing Frugal Bookstore to cancel or refund orders, accusing the store of being too slow.
Small bookstores like Frugal, have struggled to keep up with the demand as white customers furiously purchase these books. And they’re not just struggling to ship orders but also with the reality that it took Black people being murdered for white people to suddenly seek out information on racism, which had been readily available for years. “We’re thriving because of black bodies,” Kalima DeSuze, owner of Cafe con Libros bookstore in Brooklyn, told Gothamist in a piece on how New York City bookstores are handling the influx of orders. “I would prefer that he still be alive and I still be struggling.”