5 AAPI-Owned Bookstores to Support
Above image courtesy of Bel Canto Books
May is AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Heritage Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans have made to U.S. history and culture. In the midst of rising crimes against the AAPI community this year, it is more important than ever to show support. One way to do this is by supporting AAPI members of the literary community, whether by reading books by AAPI poets or shopping at AAPI-owned bookstores. We’ve highlighted five AAPI-owned bookstores you can support today, and all year long. And if you want to learn more about ending anti-Asian racism, visit Stop AAPI Hate.
A Good Used Book, Los Angeles, Calif.
If a carefully curated used bookstore makes your spine tingle, A Good Used Book might be your new best friend. The pop-up shop is run by a team of three who vet each book and its condition before cleaning, conditioning, researching, photographing, and pricing it to add it to their shelves. The shop is currently online-only until they can secure a more permanent space in Los Angeles, but new books are added to the site each day. To sweeten the deal, A Good Used Book holds weekend story sales on its Instagram. Be sure to peep the shop’s IG story at noon (PT) on Saturdays and Sundays for the best deals.
Bel Canto Books, Long Beach, Calif.
Founded by Filipina-American poet and former hospitality executive Jhoanna Belfer, Bel Canto books brings a beautifully curated selection of books to the Long Beach area. Bel Canto’s fiction, nonfiction, and children’s titles are chosen based on a new theme each month, with a special emphasis on celebrating books by women and people of color.
Philippine Expressions Bookshop, Los Angeles, Calif.
This LA-based bookstore began as a mail-order bookshop dedicated to Filipino Americans in search of their roots. With over 36 years of service to the Filipino-American community, Philippine Expressions Bookshop hosts parties, lectures, readings, and more. In addition to the shop’s Filipino-forward book collection, visitors can also find a number of cultural artifacts to learn about and admire.
Maomi Bookstore, Chamblee, Ga.
Tucked away in Atlanta’s Chinatown, Maomi Bookstore brings together an inclusive café space, bookshop, and calligraphy haven. Visitors to Maomi Bookstore will find an array of Chinese books, magazines, and calendars, as well as an assortment of tea, coffee, and pantry goods. One of the most unique sections of the store is its calligraphy area, which carries ornamental paper, brushes, ink, and anything else you might need to take your calligraphy skills to the next level.
27th Letter Books, Detroit, Mich.
Owned by Air Force veterans Erin and Drew Pineda, 27th Letter Books is a new independent bookstore that aims to highlight underrepresented voices in literature. The name refers to the ampersand (&), which was once the 27th letter of the alphabet. For the owners, it represents coming together, transformation, and persistence. The shop was established about seven years ago, but they are currently searching for a new brick-and-mortar home. However, you can still support them by purchasing books online. Be sure to check out Erin and Drew’s recent reads on BookShop.org!