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New Amplify Bookstore to specialise in BIPOC books

A new online-only bookshop, launched by masters of publishing and communications students Marina Sano and Jing Xuan Teo, will specialise in books by Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) authors.

Amplify Bookstore offers new books, as well as a small curated selection of secondhand titles.

‘We aim to reach out to the large BIPOC community in Australia, as our store is aimed primarily at BIPOCs. But we hope to reach out to anyone who wants to diversify their reading or wish to discover more BIPOC authors,’ Teo told Books+Publishing. ‘Particularly since June this year, people have been made painfully aware of the lack of diversity we see, well, everywhere and we hope to provide a solution to that for people who don’t know where to start.’

Teo said that while the bookstore was online-only, she and Sano hoped to open a bricks and mortar store in the future. ‘We’re being realistic. We know that we are going into a recession, and COVID recovery will not be easy on the economy,’ said Teo. ‘Amplify also started during COVID, and so knew what sort of retail climate we were entering.’ Nonetheless, Teo said Amplify was launching ‘at a time when readers are learning of the importance of reading widely’.

‘Being People of Colour, we found it really difficult to find books by authors of colour in regular bookstores,’ she said. ‘The publishing industry is really white, and as POCs, and we wanted a bookstore that not only centred BIPOC voices, but also made it easy to find books by authors of colour. Most books on the shelves at regular bookstores are by white authors (at a rate disproportionate to the general population), and it can be really difficult to look for books by authors of a specific race or region.’

Teo said the store’s book boxes ‘provide a really simple way to read more widely’: the stores offers a selection of boxes categorised by regions including Europe and the Middle East, Oceania, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Africa, and also curates boxes for customers who fill out a form when ordering the store’s ‘Supercut Box’. It also offers global shipping, as well as free shipping in Australia for orders over $75.

Teo said she and Sano were being mentored by Think+DO Tank Foundation CEO Jane Stratton, and had received guidance from University of Melbourne staff including Small Press Network general manager Tim Coronel.

‘We recognise that there is an increasing demand for BIPOC voices in literature (and other forms of media), and we hope that with this comes more interest in our store,’ said Teo. ‘We are fighting for BIPOC voices to not just be heard, but appreciated for the value they hold.’

For more information see the Amplify Bookstore website.


Category: Local news