“All the pandemic has done is shine a horrifyingly clear spotlight on every inequality in our community. And my community is the book community.”
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As the holiday season swings into gear, retailers across the country are gearing up as best they can amid the pandemic. Hannah Oliver Depp is the owner of Loyalty Bookstores, an independent bookseller with two locations — one in Washington, D.C., and the other in Silver Spring, Maryland. Loyalty Bookstores centers Black, people of color and queer voices and works to diversify the book industry to better serve those communities.
For Depp, getting all the books her store wants for the holidays is a challenge, and not just because the pandemic has slammed the supply chain.
As she explains, “For the last five years, there has been a substantial issue getting certain cookbooks, art books, even some bigger-name fiction books, because they just couldn’t print them fast enough. And when they did, somehow mysteriously they were at Amazon before they were at independent bookstores.”
The disparities don’t stop at Amazon. “All the pandemic has done is shine a horrifyingly clear spotlight on every inequality in our community,” Depp said. “And my community is the book community. So when book printing shortages come, when people lose their jobs, when the death rate skyrockets in the community and it adversely affects Black and brown people and the undocumented.
“Those are the people whose stories I’m interested in telling,” she said, “and they’re my direct community that I’m trying to provide books to.”
Click the audio player above to hear the full story.
Hannah’s holiday book picks and why she thinks they’re must-reads
“If a book of essays had a physical bite, it would be this one. Combining every element of our lives, from music, to police, to our mothers, Laymon casts his ever-aware but empathetic eye on America and offers us both our unvarnished truth and our capacity for hope.”
“As one friend put it, a book that deals with PTSD and institutional racism has no right to be this fun. An upending of the ever-changing Arthurian legend, “Legendborn” gives us the heroine of 2020 in Bree, a young Black woman going to a liberal arts college in the South and discovering a secret, magical society tied to her mother’s passing.”
“In addition to being a gorgeous and bright picture book that will delight your senses, this Kirkus Prize-winning read enthuses the brilliance of the young Black body and the joys of discovering what makes each kid powerful as they figure out who they are.”
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