5 AAPI-Owned Bookstores To Support Year-Round

Looking for a good independent bookstore? Keep your momentum for supporting the AAPI community going by supporting these five AAPI-owned bookstores.

Book Culture Bookspot / Libraries
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Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month is coming to an end, but as we move forward to the next month, don’t let that stop your activism and support for the AAPI community or any other community. Stay consistent to ensure that these communities always have the support they need and deserve. A great way to continue supporting these communities is by bringing awareness to their businesses so here are 5 AAPI-owned bookstores to support this month and every month of the year.

1. Bel Canto Books

Bel Canto Books is a woman and BIPOC-owned independent bookstore based in Retro Row of Long Beach, California. Founded by Jhoanna Belfer, a Filipina-American poet, in 2018, Bel Canto Books offers a curated selection of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books, organized around a theme of the month. The theme of the month centers and celebrates the works by different women and BIPOC. A beautiful brick-and-mortar space, Bel Canto Books strives to be a bookstore that supports underrepresented voices.

Bel Canto Books is located at 122 E 4th Street in Long Beach, California.

2. Yu and Me Books

Yu and Me Books is New York City’s first Asian American woman-owned bookstore. Established in 2021 by Lucy Yu, Yu and Me Books functions as a bookstore, café, and bar. Yu dreamed of a bookstore that created a semblance of home and familiarity within her so she created that. The initials of the bookstore, YM, are her mother’s initials, communicating the idea of family, immigrant stories, and the legacy of family stories. Yu and Me Books strives to bring attention to underrepresented stories and communities, where people can find a space for the representation they need.

Yu and Me Books is located at 44 Mulberry Street in New York, New York.

3. Nā Mea Hawai’i

Nā Mea Hawai’i, translated as “all things Hawaiian,” is devoted to showcasing the work of local artists and crafters from the Hawaiian Islands, in particular Native Hawaiian artists. They work with local artisans and feature books that center on Hawaiian and Pacific Islander authors and writers. Aside from books, people can find beautiful jewelry, clothes, bath products, and more at Nā Mea Hawai’i made by local artisans and craftspeople.

Nā Mea Hawai’i can be found at the Ward Location at Na Mea Hawaiʻi at 1200 Ala Moana Blvd Suite 270 in Honolulu, Hawai’i, and in Downtown Honolulu at Native Books at 1164 Nu’uanu Ave in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

4. Eastwind Books of Berkeley

Eastwind Books of Berkeley was established in 1982 and has consistently been a source of Asian American literature, Asian Studies, Ethnic Studies, Language Learning, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Martial Arts books. Their commitment to showcasing Asian American-related books and shining a light on Asian American writers and authors has secured them a reputation as one of the most successful bookstores to focus on the Asian American community.

Eastwind Books of Berkeley is located at 2066 University Avenue, Berkeley in Califonia.

5. Native Books

Native Books is a Hawaiian and woman-owned bookstore. It was established by Maile Meyer in 1990 to prove that Hawaiians do read and to distribute and feature books about every and any aspect of Hawaiian culture. Their mission is to share and bring awareness to Hawaiian culture, history, experience, and people. Native Books is home to one of the largest collections of Hawaiian and Pacific Islander books, making their values come to life.

Native Books is located at the Arts & Letters Building on 1164 Nuʻuanu Ave in Hawai’i.

For similar articles, take a look at this article about six AAPI authors that you need to read right now, here.

Featured image cr. CANVA / Maria Oum