African American Literature Book Club’s 95 Bestselling Books for 2021


By Troy Johnson

Our bestsellers list has been published continuously since 1998 and is the most visible list focused on Black Books in existence. You will learn about books selling well, in the Black community, that may never show up on lists published by larger corporate entities. Spread the word about our list, don’t let others determine which books are important.

Fiction: Voices of the Harlem Renaissance: Originally Published as The New Negro an Interpretation edited by Alain Locke and featuring a new introduction by AALBC’s Troy Johnson was the #1 fiction book for 2021. Voices, which was originally published almost 100 years ago, benefited from strong sales because it is an excellent treatment of The New Negro an Interpretation and we have focused on providing sales and distribution through independent channels.

Nonfiction:  So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo surged immediately after the cruel murder of George Floyd. Readers, of all backgrounds, were anxious to understand the nature of racism how they could do something about it. More importantly, readers wanted to buy So You Want to Talk About Race, and similar title’s, from independent Black-owned booksellers. Sales have remained strong for these books more than a year later.

Children’s Books: Children’s books has been the top-selling category of books the past two years, which is really remarkable given the strength of nonfiction book sales (a close second). Born on the Water: The 1619 Project written by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson, and wonderfully illustrated by Nikkolas Smith, enjoyed a tremendous amount of support from virtually the entire bookselling community.

Poetry: Vice: New and Selected Poems by Ai Ogawa won a National Book Award in 1999, the year it was first published. Given the strength of the sales of Amanda Gorman’s Call Us What We Carry, the 22-year-old Vice topping all other poetry book sales is impressive.

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