The following open letter was signed by thirty-two North Carolina bookstores and three North Carolina publishers.
To The Honorable Governor Pat McCrory and members of the North Carolina General Assembly,
As the owners and managers of independent bookstores, part of our mission is to provide that â€œthird place,â€ an additional public space other than home or work where folks can gather to discuss issues important to our community. Ray Oldenburg, in his book, The Great Good Place, â€œargues that ‘third placesâ€¦ are the heart of a community’s social vitality and the grassroots of democracy.’â€ As independent bookstores providing that third place in communities across our state, we believe it is essential to be non-discriminatory, inclusive and tolerant, to promote freedom of speech and equality, and to guard against censorship and unfair treatment.
Another part of our mission is to be profitable; to allow ourselves and our employees to earn a respectable living. What both of these mission statements share is the need for people to visit our stores and become customers. Authors have already started to cancel appearances at North Carolina bookstores over what the ACLU describes as â€œthe most extreme anti-LGBT measure in the country.â€ This can and will have a real negative impact on our businesses. It doesnâ€™t make sense, financially or otherwise, to choose discrimination over inclusion. Unfortunately, thatâ€™s exactly what lawmakers have done by passing HB2.
Company after company is withdrawing from doing business in NC until this legislation is repealed. Retailers and others are already feeling the economic impact of this legislation and we are sure, because of the momentum behind more businesses, conferences, artists, rock stars, authors, and ordinary citizens choosing places other than North Carolina to spend their vacations, the worst financial impact is yet to come.
Small Business Majorityâ€™s polling found 67 percent of North Carolinaâ€™s entrepreneurs believe North Carolina should have a law prohibiting employment discrimination against LGBT people. Nationally, two-thirds of small businesses say business owners shouldnâ€™t be able to deny goods or services to LGBT individuals. (More info on this polling is here.)
For North Carolina, the choice between small businesses and discrimination should be clear. We hope our lawmakers make the right decision and repeal HB2.
All Booked Up, Apex
Blue Ridge Books, Waynesville
Books to be Red, Ocracoke
Books Unlimited, Fayetteville
Buxton Village Books, Buxton
C. Clayton Thompson â€“ Booksellers, Boone
City Lights Bookstore, Sylva
Downtown Books, Manteo
Ducks Cottage Coffee & Books, Duck
Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill
Letters Bookshop, Durham
Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe, Asheville
McIntyre’s Fine Books, Pittsboro
Novels & Novelties Bookstore, Hendersonville
Page 158 Books, Wake Forest
Pomegranate Books, Wilmington
Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh
Quarter Moon Bookstore, Topsail Beach
Regulator Bookshop, Durham
Scuppernong Books, Greensboro
Scuttlebutt Nautical Books & Bounty, Beaufort
Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, Asheville
Sunrise Books, High Point
The Book Shelf, Tryon
The Coffeehound Bookshop, Louisburg
The Dollar Book Exchange, Raleigh
The Island Bookstore, Corolla
The Island Bookstore, Duck
The Island Bookstore, Kitty Hawk
The Red Door, Saxapahaw
Uprising Coffee and Books, Eden
Algonquin Books, a division of Workman Publishing, Chapel Hill & NYC
Eno Publishers, Hillsborough
John F. Blair Publisher, Winston-Salem
Thank you to our friends at Quail Ridge Books for passing this along.