If you’re like many people who are staying at home right now, the need for a new book can feel very real. Maybe you have already powered through your to-be-read pile and are wishing for a trip to the bookstore. Many businesses are taking a hard hit with the current lockdown in effect, and bookstores, especially independent bookstores, are among the most vulnerable.
The outlook for local indie bookstores has been on the rise in recent years, after spending some time in decline, which is why they need our support, now more than ever. As we bring International Women’s Month to a close, here are 5 women-owned bookstores to support during quarantine and after.
Cafe con Libros
Described as a feminist bookstore and coffee shop (so heaven), Cafe con Libros describes themselves as a “feminist community bookstore catering to folks, specifically womxn and girls, who are book lovers, coffee aficionados, or both.” They seek to provide “space for anyone seeking a community of readers and thinkers and, to spread the love of reading as a source of healing and joy.”
Located in Brooklyn New York, founder Kalima Desuze, an Afro-Latinx feminist, social worker, activist, teacher, veteran, and new mother, opened her bookshop in 2017. In an interview with Medium, Kalima said “Books really saved my life. I looked around at my books and most of them were written by women, women of color, and they were global. And it really saved my life. There were times when I couldn’t answer questions about my own identity and I would read, and it would give me more insight into who I am and put my experience in a global context; it’s not just about me. So I decided I wanted a feminist bookstore.”
Violet Valley Bookstore
In 2018, Jamie Harker opened Water Valley, Mississippi’s only queer/feminist bookstore, Violet Valley Bookstore. According to their mission statement, “Violet Valley Bookstore makes feminist, queer, and multicultural books available to the Water Valley community, the state of Mississippi, and the South. The bookstore provides a series of readings and other programs to support diverse voices in Mississippi. It features new and used books so that everyone, no matter their income bracket, can afford to have books.” This oasis for LGBTQ+ and feminists alike can support this female-owned shop through their online store.
Women and Children First
Located in Chicago, Illinois, Women and Children First was opened by Ann Christophersen and Linda Bubon in 1979. The two were studying literature at university and had trouble finding women authors in their local bookstores and libraries. They decided to take things into their own hands and opened Women and Children First, which has become a bookstore staple in the literary community of Chicago, hosting incredible voices over the years such as Gloria Steinem, Maya Angelou, Alison Bechdel, Eve Ensler, Hillary Clinton, Margaret Atwood, and more. Order your next favorite book online through their shop today.
This bookstore is named after the ancient Greek character, Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus in Sophocles’ plays. Known as a resilient and virtuous character who maintains her values in the face of adversity and stands up against male authority figures, Antigone is the perfect figure to name a women-owned bookstore after. Opened first in 1973 and now run by Morgan Miller, Melissa Negelspach, and Kate Stern since 2016, this Tuscan, Arizona shop enriches the community with a variety of workshops and book groups. While they are currently closed during the lockdown, you can still purchase books through their website.
Books Are Magic
Owned by bestselling novelist Emma Straub, Books Are Magic has become an essential stop when in Brooklyn. Opened with her husband in 2017, Emma had a vision for the space, which had been BookCourt until 2016. She wrote on her blog: “A neighborhood without an independent bookstore is a body without a heart. And so we’re building a new heart.”