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Marcus Books updates for new markets


SAN FRANCISCO -- Marcus Books continues to meet the same needs that Julian and Dr. Raye Richardson identified in 1960 -- a place to find African-American literature and authors.
With almost 6,000 fans on Facebook and a YouTube network, the two-store chain, at 1712 Fillmore St. here and 3900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Oakland, has no shortage of new books to share.
It is America's oldest black-owned bookstore, and arguably the launch pad for a renaissance of black literature.  Ernest Gaines grew up a few blocks away; Terri McMillan used to bring in books from her trunk and the likes of Randall Robinson and Tavis Smiley insist on doing their Bay Area readings with Marcus Books.
During National Black Business Month in August, visit your closest black bookstore in person or online.   It is a difficult environment for book retailers, given online purchasing and e-books.  Even Borders, which hurt many independent black bookstores, gave up the ghost.
31Ways31Days suggests Wed., Aug. 3 as a good day to reacquaint yourself with the places where you can not only find a good book, but catch up on all the happenings in the community.
EsoWan in Los Angeles' Leimert Park neighborhood is a similar community anchor.  Visiting black bookstores generally also means getting a bite to eat at the nearby restaurant, stopping for nails, picking up that African fabric, popping in to Kaos Network and spreading the wealth to a number of retailers.
And one never knows who one might meet.

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