Black-Owned Bookish Etsy Shops for You to Support

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By day, Leah Rachel von Essen is the editor-in-chief of Chicago Booth Magazine at the University of Chicago. By night, she reviews genre-bending fiction for Booklist, and writes regularly as a senior contributor at Book Riot. Her blog While Reading and Walking has over 10,000 dedicated followers over several social media outlets, including Instagram. She writes passionately about books in translation, chronic illness and bias in healthcare, queer books, twisty SFF, and magical realism and folklore. She was one of a select few bookstagrammers named to NewCity’s Chicago Lit50 in 2022. She is an avid traveler, a passionate fan of women’s basketball and soccer, and a lifelong learner. Twitter: @reading_while

Let’s face it: 2024 has already been a tough year! What better way to dispel that bad energy than to indulge in a little retail therapy — particularly bookish retail therapy? I know nothing makes me feel better than adding another tote bag to my gorgeous tote bag pile, or using a new bookmark, or putting a gorgeous sticker in my journal. Yes, we don’t need them, but if they bring small joys to our lives each day, then they are worth purchasing.

All of the items below are worth the purchase. And there’s a bonus. It’s Black History Month, which means it’s the perfect time to give some of that indulgence money into the hands of Black creators. The 12 Black-owned Etsy shops below make absolutely incredible merchandise, from a gorgeous T-shirt honoring the great bell hooks to a new bookish candle to join your reading nook rotation. Take a moment to treat yourself this February, and buy something nice and bookish from one of these stores!

An open box with two books and other bookish goodies inside

Okay, so JaesBookbox only has one item: but it’s this incredible book box ($50), which comes with a book and affirmation journal, plus a small pile of excellent bookish goodies. Buy it as a gift for your favorite bookworm!

Yellow sweatshirt with a design of a brown-skinned Black woman reading

The designs from The Trini Gee are so cute that it was difficult to choose just one to figure here. They have T-shirts, sweatshirts (this one, above, is $40), puzzles, journals, notebooks, and much more, all with incredible designs.

Two magnetic bookmarks with brown-skinned Black women reading on them

The Houston-based AllMyQueens shop sells a series of gorgeous magnetic bookmarks and stickers — the set of two above is $9. Get these or a whole set of their designs to make your reading as stylish as possible.

A candle sitting on top of a book

I am obsessed with the bookish candles made by Book and Reverie. They have this Well-Read candle ($22) that smells of vanilla, pound cake, and honey — but they also have candles themed around Bridgerton, The Starless Sea, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, and more!

A light brown-skinned Black woman wearing a black sweatshirt with an Ida B Wells quote on it

Are you a James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, or Ida B. Wells fan? Then The Culture Ref has shirts, journals, and much more for you. Their bookish items showcase these absolute icons and some of their most inspiring quotes, including this Ida B. Wells sweatshirt ($35+).

A print featuring a quote by Toni Morrison that says: "If you want to fly, you have to give up the things that weigh you down."

“If you want to fly, you have to give up the things that weigh you down.” Get this Toni Morrison print ($2) and have it printed and framed, or pick up t-shirts, books, and more at Cultured Kinfolk, which is run by AfroDominican-Ghanian American woman Janet Luz Sackey.

Want other ways to support bookish Black-owned businesses? Check out our list of subscription boxes by Black businesses or our list of 50 Black-owned independent bookstores to support.

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