The book store thrives selling left-wing books to an inquiring audience

In recent years, the number of bookstores nationally has dropped considerably, although in the last few years there has been an increase around the country in locally-owned stores. There are some here.

Burning Books on Connecticut Street on Buffalo’s West Side specializes in left-wing books, sometimes drawing fire for its material. Many of the books deal with the changing neighbourhood, as readers learn about new neighbors and abandoned far-off lands. Co-owner Theresa Baker-Pickering says it makes sense.

“We try and carry books that deal with, certainly, with immigration and refugees and particularly with people that live in this community so that people who are not from those places can understand why people are here, why they needed to leave where they are from .”

Baker-Pickering says it’s important to learn about the world.

“You can only benefit from hearing stories told by people who are different than you, because, that’s how you learn about what other people are like, especially if you live some place that is not blessed with a diversity of people.”

The co-owner says the store is expanding because there are more books meeting the ownership view of the world.

“Even before 2018, we’ve seen an increase in books which are dealing with social justice issues, particularly in kid’s books and like in middle grades, young adults.”

At the same time, Baker-Pickering says the customers are a varied group.

“We have a very diverse customer base. I think in all senses of the word. We consider ourselves a radical bookstore, focused on social justice issues. I think that we’re very lucky in Buffalo, where we do have people coming in who aren’t like your typical radical bookstore customer.”

Baker-Pickering says she saw local interest in her stock of books, early on.

“When we first opened, there is a two book set on Asia’s unknown uprisings. And, somebody came in and picked it up and was looking through the book and was like: Oh, our uprising is not in here.”

She reported that to the publisher. Some of the books on the shelves of the bookstore draw fire from those who don’t agree with the owners’ world view.

“To be in a world where we can, or at least in our society, where we are maybe at a point when we can finally accept or start, even, to accept people for who they are and accept that that’s the way that it is and there is no changing people and that maybe that is finally a good place to be or to be moving in that direction and I think that’s what part of that pushback from Moms for Liberty is.”

Moms for Liberty is a group with local members who challenge books in libraries and schools.

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