Amazon. Finding and buying books by Latinos are easier than ever. All you have to do is search on Amazon. Be sure to scroll through “Customers who bought this item also bought” section – you may discover a new Latino author/title. And keep looking – it took me months to find “Spidertown” by Abraham Rodriguez on Amazon.
The BIG Bookstore. Well known Latino authors (e.g. Esmeralda Santiago, Junot Diaz, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabel Allende) are sprinkled throughout the Fiction/Literature section. Lesser know ones (who are lucky enough to take up shelf space at a bookstore – let’s be for real) are tossed into the Latino Literature section. Whenever I go into a bookstore, the first thing I do is find the Latino Literature section – it’s usually just a shelf, sometimes two – but I’ve found some gems in there.
Specialty/Neighborhood Bookstores. In the heart of El Barrio (NYC), there La Casa Azul Bookstore – an entire bookstore dedicated to Latino authors. It’s quite amazing. Do a little searching in your neighborhood – maybe there’s a Latino bookstore or a bookshop that has a Latino Lit section.
College Bookstores. I have found so many books – fiction and non-fiction – at college bookstores. Not only in the Literature section but looking through the Anthropology/Social Studies and History sections. And you will find great deals on Used Books.
TIP: Invest in “The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature” – it’s a little expensive but it features 201 Latino writers. It’s a wonderful introduction to Latino Lit and a great way to get a sense of who you like and who you don’t. If you like a particular author, you can search for their other work.
Museums. In New York City, there’s El Museo del Barrio. Whenever I go, I never leave empty handed. The next time you visit a museum (any museum), check out the book section at the gift shops – you never know what you will find.
Flea Markets/Street Vendors/Garage Sales. Books are usually the first thing people get rid of and when sold at Flea Markets/Garage Sales – they’re usually dirt cheap. The next time you see a street vendor selling books, take a minute to see what’s on sale.
Book Readings/Signings/Conventions/Conferences. I love attending book events. Readings and signings are great experiences because there’s something about hearing your favorite author read their words aloud. While most authors will only sign the book they are promoting, they will usually have their other books available for purchase. Now conventions and conferences require some time, money and dedication. But check your local area to see what’s happening. However, Latino writers at these conferences are few and far between so do your research first.
Event: October 3, 2015 is the 2015 Comadres & Compadres Writers Conference for Latino Writers. Learn more about Las Comadres, CCWC and/or register here. I attended last year and it was an amazing experience for me! You can read about my experience here.
Traveling. Yeah, I know – easier said than done. But people do go on vacation and sometimes they visit Latino countries or places within the United States with a significant Latino population. Before you go, do your research and keep my other suggestions in mind. A book makes a great souvenir and whenever you read it, it will remind of when and where you bought it.
The Blogosphere. There are many sites and blog articles dedicated to Latino writing. Find them, share them. In addition to the Las Comadres site, here are some other places that feature Latino authors:
BUY THEIR BOOKS! Publishers & bookstores don’t care how many people have read the book – they only care about how many people buy the book. Lending/borrowing books only perpetuates the stereotype that Latinos don’t read and/or books about Latinos are not profitable. If you want to see more Latino writers on the bookshelves, we need to let publishers know that we are willing to buy them.
And if you love a particular book, write a quick review on Amazon or Good Reads. Send a tweet or shout them out on Facebook. Social media is more powerful than ever and Latinos dominate it – in this tech age, it’s easy for our voices to be heard.