George Floyd protests: Books about race and combating racism sell-out on Amazon

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Rapper, poet, and writer Akala's book Natives was among those that sold out on Amazon UK this week amid surging sales. (AP)

Sales of books about race and how to combat racism have surged in the UK in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by police in the US and subsequent worldwide protests.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Renni Eddo-Lodge was the most ordered book on Amazon UK (AMZN) last week, entering the top 20 for the first time.

Such was the demand for Eddo-Lodge’s book — which was first published in 2017 — that it had sold out in both paperback and hardback by Friday afternoon.

Other new entries to Amazon’s weekly UK best-sellers list were How to Argue With A Racist by Dr Adam Rutherford, published in February, and Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad, which was published in January. Both were sold out in hardback edition, with paperbacks yet to go into print.

The surging sales suggest Brits are rushing to read up on the issue of systematic racism, which has been pushed to the top of the global agenda in recent weeks by the death of George Floyd. Protestors have taken to the streets worldwide to call for reform to end racial injustice in the wake of Floyd’s death.

Tottenham MP David Lammy used an appearance on BBC’s Question Time this week to urge people to “educate yourself” by reading some of the “fantastic books” on the topic. Eddo-Lodge’s book was among those he mentioned.

Lammy also name checked rapper and poet Akala. His book Natives also sold out in paperback on Amazon. The paperback, audio book, and Kindle edition of the book occupied three of the four best-seller spots in the charts for “Social & Urban History Biographies” on Amazon by Friday afternoon and the book was the tenth best-seller on Amazon UK’s hourly sales charts.

A spokesperson for Amazon declined to comment.

As well as books, Brits also turned to podcasts on race. Eddo-Lodge’s podcast About Race was top of Apple’s podcast charts in the UK on Friday, despite ending two years ago. 1619, a New York Times podcast about the foundational importance of slavery to the US, was fourth in Apple’s UK charts.

Both programmes were prominently promoted by Apple in its Podcast app alongside other programmes under the headline “#BlackLivesMatter.”

Renay Richardson, who produced the About Race podcast, tweeted that to see her programme go to number one was “bittersweet”.

“I can’t help think all the podcast/media journalists who did not give us a platform,” Richardson tweeted. “How if we had the support and people commissioned more shows like this and acknowledged that it was content that was needed. Maybe just maybe the world wouldn’t be the mess that it is.

“Why did it take gruesome black deaths to make you finally hear?”