Meet a Bookseller: Kaneisha Gaston

It’s Meet a Bookseller Monday, and today we’re excited to introduce Kaneisha Gaston, co-founder and bookseller at Red Rice & Beans Diaspora Bookstore in Charlotte, NC.

How did you get into bookselling?

I have been involved with libraries for a few years and worked as a bookseller while preparing for a career change. I decided I’d like contribute to the literary community full time so I started Red Rice & Beans Diaspora Bookstore.

What do you love most about being a bookseller?

I enjoy the constant discovery. There’s always a new idea, a new way to extend the ideas in a book, and different way to connect literature to the past and present and–most importantly–a new way to create new futures and narratives through literature.

What do you love most about your bookstore?

I love that we are starting to build something we have yet to see in a Black-owned bookstore recently. We are very eager to continue building our capacity to source new titles from international Black presses in order to highlight an often overlooked dimension to Black bookselling, Black literary culture, and production.

What are you listening to right now?

I am currently listening to many things! If I look at my app now, I’m paused on Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson.

Where and when do you listen to audiobooks?

I listen to audiobooks in the morning before I begin work. It has been very calming and affirming to step outside of the chaos of pandemic-life and step into someone else’s world. I’ve enjoyed celebrating what writers have created, and that inspires me to create as well.

What is your favorite thing about audiobooks through Libro.fm?

The accessibility. The prevalence of mobile devices has, in some ways, increased access for those who may not have laptops or desktops. I also have vision issues, and listening provides my eyes with a much-needed break.

What do you do when you’re not selling books?

If I’m not selling books, I’m either recommending them to my students or helping to make them discoverable.

Kelsey Norris is a writer and former bookseller currently based in DC. She enjoys travel, outdoor activities with her pup, and overcommitting to DIY projects. Find more of her work at www.kelseynorris.com.

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