In recent years, the number of bookstores nationwide has declined significantly, although in recent years there has been a nationwide increase in locally owned stores. There are some here.
Burning Books on Connecticut Street on the West Side of Buffalo specializes in leftist books, sometimes drawing fire for its material. Many books deal with the changing neighborhood as readers discover new neighbors and distant abandoned lands. Co-owner Theresa Baker-Pickering says that makes sense.
“We’re trying to come up with books that are certainly about immigration and refugees and specifically about people who live in this community so that people who aren’t from these places can understand why people are here, why they had to come from where they came from.”
Baker-Pickering says it’s important to learn about the world.
“You can only benefit from hearing stories told by people who are different from you, because that’s how you learn what other people are like, especially if you live somewhere that doesn’t have diversity. of people.”
The co-owner says the store is growing because there are more books that fit the ownership’s view of the world.
“Even before 2018, we saw an increase in the number of books dealing with social justice issues, particularly in books for children and, as in the middle grades, young adults.”
At the same time, Baker-Pickering says customers are a diverse group.
“We have a very diverse clientele. I think in every sense of the word. We consider ourselves a radical bookstore, focused on issues of social justice. I think we’re very lucky in Buffalo, where we have people who aren’t like the typical radical bookstore customer.
Baker-Pickering says she saw local interest in her book stock early on.
“When we opened, there was a set of two books on the unknown uprisings of Asia. And, someone came in and picked it up and looked in the book and said, Oh, our uprising is not is not here.
She reported it to the editor. Some of the books on the bookstore shelves draw fire from those who disagree with the owners’ worldview.
“To be in a world where we can, or at least in our society, where we may be at a point where we can finally accept or even begin to accept people for who they are and accept that it’s it’s like that and there’s no change of people and that maybe it’s finally a good place to be or to go in that direction and I think that’s part of that pushback from Moms for Liberty.
Moms for Liberty is a group of local members who challenge books in libraries and schools.