Where to Find Anti-Racism Books That Are (Thankfully) Now Sold Out
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Educating yourself is the first step in getting conversations about racism started to make changes in our country. Don't use the fact that these books are sold out on Amazon as an excuse to not support this movement.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody in Minneapolis, protests broke out around the world bringing light to the systemic racial injustice still present in today’s society. One thing that many white people realized through this movement is that they aren’t fully educated about the history of inequality that has been a part of our society. Anti-racist books such as, Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility and Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist have jumped to the top of the best-seller lists and quickly sold out on Amazon and other well-known bookstores such as Barnes and Noble and bookshop.org. If you want to start reading and learning now and you can’t wait for these books to come back in stock, there are a few places you can still find them. If you’re not sure which books you should be buying, here are 15 essential books for understanding race relations in America.
The most obvious option if all of the physical copies of anti-racist books you want to read are sold out is to download it onto your e-reader. Some popular e-readers are Amazon’s Kindle, the Kobo, and Barnes and Nobel’s NOOK. E-readers allow you to download and store hundreds of books at the touch of a button. The e-reader version of a book can never sell out and it’s typically cheaper than buying a copy of the book. If you don’t already have an e-reader and you don’t want to invest in one, Kindle, Kobo, and NOOK all have apps that you can download on your smartphone for free. You have access to the same books (both ebooks and audiobooks) and it can conveniently be accessed from your phone wherever you are.
Check your local library
If your local library is open and allowing people inside, go and browse the shelves. If you’re lucky, they may still have a copy or two of the anti-racist book that you’re looking to read. If not, ask your librarian if you can be put on a waiting list for a specific book or if they have any recommendations beyond what you’re looking for that they may still have available.
Many libraries also offer e-book versions of the books. D.C. Public Library has now made available unlimited e-book copies of books including Unapologetic: A Black, Queer and Feminist Mandate for Our Movement by Charlene Carruthers and Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor, by Layla F. Saad. They also have a few audiobooks available for unlimited downloads including Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable and So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo. You need a library card number to access, but if you have a card for your local library, visit their website to see if you can download books for free. If you’d rather listen than read, here are 12 podcasts about race that you need to hear.
Visiting your local library’s website might bring you to the Libby app. Libby is a free app where you can download ebooks and audiobooks from your library. All you need to borrow and read books on the app is a valid library card. It’s completely free to use and there are no late fees because books are automatically returned by its due date.
Walk down to your local bookstore
Local bookstores typically don’t have a presence online. If yours is open and allowing customers to come in, head down to your local bookstore to see what anti-racist books they have in stock. If they are only doing curbside pickup, call ahead and ask the owner which books are available. Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions too, they’re the book experts and will have lots of ideas for you to educate yourself about racism.
If you feel like you don’t have the time to crack open a book (let alone hunt one down) audiobooks are a great option to educate yourself on the go. Also, audiobooks are always available. Audible is a popular option that lets you start out with a free 30-day trial. After that, plans start at less than $15 a month. On top of getting access to thousands of books, Audible also gives you digital newspaper subscriptions to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post so you can read about the news happening around the Black Lives Matter movement as well as anti-racist books.
Another option for audiobooks is Libro.fm. After setting up a free account, Libro lets you choose which independent bookstore you want to support with your future purchases through the program. You can support your local bookstore or one of the many black-owned bookstores around the country. You can sign up for a monthly membership or use their a la cart listening option. Here are some other ways you can support black-owned businesses.
If you have a computer, tablet, or phone you can download audiobooks and e-books through Google Books. All you have to do is purchase and download the book from the Google Play store and then you’ll have access. Google Books lets you read or listen to a sample of the book before purchasing it. If you’re overwhelmed with the number of options, they created a whole section with books about racial justice to help you get started reading.
Apple Books is similar to Google Books and e-reader apps. If you have an iPhone or iPad the Books app comes pre-programmed on your phone. Open the app, browse through the Book Store and download books and audiobooks right to your device. You can read the publisher’s description, reviews of the book, and set reading goals for yourself right in the app.
Check with the publisher
If you found an anti-racist book on Amazon that’s sold out, try going straight to the publisher. To find the publisher on Amazon scroll down to product details and the publisher’s name will be listed there. Go to their website and see if they have the book in stock. You may have to create an account with the publisher to purchase the book, but it will probably get to you faster so it’s worth it. To educate yourself even more, here are some documentaries about race that everyone needs to see.
For more on this important issue, see our guide to the Fight Against Racism.