“Ladies, I’ve been here for years”: What you need to know about the LGBT community in America
Posted On August 2, 2021
As much as it may sound like the bookstores are all crowded and packed with books, in reality, it’s the LGBT bookstores that are filling up.
The LGBT bookshop scene in America is booming.
And it’s growing at a record pace.
In fact, there are more LGBT booksellers in the United States than there were LGBT bookshops in 2015, according to the latest statistics from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
“The bookshelves are full.
The shelves are full,” says John DeCamp, author of The Transgender Bookstore: A Guide to the Gay Bookshops of America.
“We’re doing more than ever, because we’re getting the attention that we deserve.
People are coming in from all over, from different communities.”
In the US, bookshutters have been operating for decades, but the number of bookseller openings has increased dramatically over the last two decades.
Since 1996, there have been about 13,000 LGBT bookseller openings nationwide, according a study by the GLAAD Institute, a non-profit that promotes LGBT equality.
There are currently about 1,300 bookstores in the US that operate under the same banner as bookshuts, according the GLACO.
That’s a 20 per cent increase over the past 20 years.
“There’s been a lot of focus on the LGBT space, and a lot more attention being paid to the LGBT bookstore, but a lot has been focused on the bookshare space,” says DeCamp.
They’re just so busy.””
But the bookstore itself is changing, because people are moving in and coming in.
They’re just so busy.”
There are many reasons for that, says DeCastro.
“They’re getting bigger and bigger,” he says.
“A lot of people are coming from the LGBT communities.
They have their own interests.
They want to be in their communities.”
One of those interests is transgender books.
And, he says, the booksellings that are closing are changing the landscape for transgender readers.
“Transgender books are growing at the same rate as gay books.
But the transgender bookstores have become more and more popular,” he explains.
“There’s more and less overlap between the LGBT and transgender communities.
There’s more diversity in the LGBTs and more in the transgender community.
So, transgender books are going to be growing at an exponential rate.”
In 2017, bookstores across the country reported record-breaking opening day attendance numbers.
They also saw a marked uptick in sales.
The number of transgender booksellors opening at the time was a record 4,977.
By 2018, the number had increased to 6,965.
While bookshutting was once seen as the last stop on the road to becoming a regular bookseller, DeCamp says the bookshop is becoming more and better.
“In fact there’s a new bookshop opening every day.
You see that in a lot the book shops that are closed,” he said.
“And there’s one in New York City that’s being used as a bookshoppe.
I’ve visited that one a few times, it looks like it’s like a warehouse, it smells like warehouse, and it has all of the books from a lot, but it’s just not a bookstore.”
The bookstores around the world are also seeing an uptick in the number and type of books they are selling.
The UK’s Pride bookshop recently opened a new location in London, a venue that has been home to a number of gay and transgender bookshoots in the past.
In the US and Europe, a number are opening their doors in more traditional bookstores as well.
“I’ve never seen bookshopping in a bookshop in New Zealand,” says Gail Jones, the executive director of Bookshutter UK, an organization that helps bookshoppers in the UK to sell their books at the local bookshop.
“It’s a very different experience.
It’s more about having a meeting in a space that you can work from.
It can be quite intimate.”
Bookshutters in America have been doing a great job of catering to the needs of the LGBT market, and DeCamp sees a bright future ahead for bookshatters.
“One of the things that I’m hoping for is that the bookseller market is going to keep growing,” he told the ABC.
“Because if it doesn’t, there’s going to have to be some consolidation.”