The Karibu Effect

Lots of coverage of the closing of D.C.-area African American bookstore chain Karibu Books today. Hillel Italie quotes Zane in an AP story:

“I was shocked to hear the news,” said Zane, the best-selling author who lives in suburban Maryland. Zane, known for such erotic novels as Afterburn and Addicted, said that Karibu stocked her books when no one else would and was the first store where she appeared for a signing. She had made it a tradition to begin each of her author tours with a signing at one of the Karibu stores.

“I had been talking to them about my next book and knew there was something wrong because they couldn’t schedule me,” she told the AP. “Karibu was such an important store for me and authors looking for a chance to break through.”

The Washington Post‘s story suggests that the closure might have more to do with disagreements among the owners than the usual suspect, financial trouble:

“Simba wanted the company to go national,” said Jonathan Robinson, who has managed the Bowie store, one of six in the chain, for two years. Co-owner Hoke “Brother Yao” Glover “felt it wasn’t ready for that yet,” Robinson said. He added that last fall, Sana’s wife, Sunny, who bought books for the stores, abruptly left — the two are divorcing — and that customers began to notice that titles weren’t coming in.