Poetry News

Feminist Bookstores Are on the Rise

By Harriet Staff
Antigone Books, storefront in Tucson, AZ

Feminist bookstores have been on the rise since Trump was elected, reports Publishers Weekly. New York City's Bluestockings, for instance, "has continued to thrive since the election [...] and books that 'activists need, would find useful, and would want to buy' are prominently displayed." More, from Claire Kirch:

Though the store’s top-selling book in 2017 was Milk and Honey, Rupi Kaur’s collection of inspirational poems, Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark, which was published after George’s W. Bush’s reelection in 2004, with a third edition released in 2016, is among the store’s top five bestsellers: Bluestockings has sold since the election at least one copy of Hope in the Dark “every other day,” Farach said.

The nation’s oldest feminist bookstore, 45-year-old Antigone Books, in Tucson, Ariz., said that its sales have also gone up since Trump was elected, although the Antigone’s co-owners were less willing to posit a connection between sales and the current political climate than the other stores contacted by PW. The Tucson area’s continuing rapid growth, which resulted in the construction of a new streetcar line near Antigone, also has had a positive impact upon the store’s reach, according to co-owner Trudy Mills.

Like the other feminist bookstores, Antigone’s nonfiction offerings with political themes have outsold its fiction titles over the past year—especially books about racism, such as Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me; books about feminism, like Bad Feminist and Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me; and works promoting social activism, such as Becky Bond’s Rules for Revolutionaries. “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls [a two-book series by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo] have also been among our store’s bestsellers,” Mills noted.

Describing Antigone’s political stance as having been “more moderate” historically than those of the other feminist bookstores PW spoke with for this story, Mills said that Antigone has become overtly political since the 2016 election, in keeping with its mission to provide “a safe space” for customers. Among its newer efforts is promoting local political rallies in the bookstore’s electronic newsletter.

In contrast to the other feminist bookstores that PW contacted, Book Woman in Austin, Tex., reported that, although year-over-year sales were up in late 2016 and in 2017, they were down in the first two months of this year. Owner Susan Post said that last year, the 43-year-old bookstore could not keep political T-shirts and bumper stickers in stock. After the election, sales of books and sidelines spiked...

Read on at PW.

Originally Published: March 13th, 2018