About twenty years ago, there were well over 100 self-described feminist bookstores in the United States. These shelves have been stocked with literature relating to a wide array of topics, including feminist history, LGBTQ issues, sexuality, abuse, community organizing, erotica, and gender and identity politics. This was not your neighborhood Barnes & Noble. However, that number has plummeted over the years, and today only around a dozen remain in North America.
While these shops used to fill a specific demand, the advent of the Internet, the Kindle and competitive pricing at major retailers has made such niche materials much more accessible.
So do we even need feminist bookstores anymore? While it’s certainly become easier to buy feminist materials elsewhere, many would argue that it is much harder to replicate the sense of community and solidarity once provided by these regional institutions.