In this world of mediocrity, when you meet excellence, you know it. Such is the case for Ms. Marva Allen and her vision made real in and for Hueman Books, in Harlem, New York. Not far from our HOPE Financial Dignity Center in Harlem, Hueman Books stands out as a true first class operation, that only 'happens' to be owned and run by an African-American. I was also honored to do a book signing there for LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and to stand with them now, as they embark upon their next transition. They are officially closing. And I am no doubt sad.
I am not really sad for Hueman's owner, Marva, as I spoke with her and as usual — she is spiritually grounded, intellectually sharp, and business prepared. She has prepared for this moment, and had good business reasons for why she did what she did.
I am saddened because I feel that I could have done more to support her store, over the years.
I am saddened, because I believe that important independent book stores like hers, and Black bookstores in particular, are a dying breed, and need to be supported.
I am saddened, because as a community I believe that all of us could have done more to support her and the store.
That said, I accept that everything must have its seasons, and that this season for them, says transition. But this I know about Marva Allen — this is about rewiring and not retiring. She will be back, and when she does, I and we will be with her. Stronger, deeper and more lovingly committed than before.
Thank you Marva, for making us all — better. Read, watch and listen to the Hueman story that follows.
Onward and with HOPE
John Hope Bryant
Our Mission: To Inspire, Motivate and Educate.
As Carol (my middle name) Burnette would say, 'we're so glad we had this time together, but now it's time for us to say so long'. Ten years of amazing friendship and camaraderie have gone by way too soon. On July 31, 2012, Hue- Man will close its current location. We all know that there is a season for everything under heaven and the season of "traditional book" selling has come to a close.
When you do something for five hundred years and it works why change? But change has happened and the publishing industry is experiencing a new reality. Faced with tremendous social pressures to deliver the next big idea, celebrity books have become the interim hype, yet even that is not a sustainable model for an industry in turmoil. As stop gap measures run out, the industry will be forced to reconcile the future place of "real books" in their business models and with continuous rumble and tumult, new ideas will percolate on how to deliver that new experience to the new consumer of books. No matter how apocalyptic the predictions are for the industry, it is my belief that books are here to stay in one iteration or the other.
Closing the existing format of Hue-Man is forward thinking on our part and as we take pause to re-imagine the future of books and how to ensure that their purpose of entertaining, imparting knowledge and honing creativity is preserved, we find no viable alternative but to go back to the drawing board. Closing our beloved bookstore, I assure you was a very hard decision for us. Yet, the confluence of events, changing landscape, the end of our lease and the international expansion of our vision, closing our physical location was the only sensible decision we could make. There is no way to re-imagine the bookstore of the future in our current space. To try to do so would be a stop gap and a waste of resources.