In an era when so many small brick-and-mortar bookstores have closed, D.C.’s MahoganyBooks, whose recent author guests included former President Barack Obama, is opening a second location at National Harbor.
MahoganyBooks’ original location is on Good Hope Road in Anacostia. It specializes in books written for, by and about the global history of the African diaspora throughout the centuries.
The National Harbor location will open June 19 (Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the emancipation of slaves in the U.S.).
It is a homecoming for co-owner and co-founder Derrick Young.
“Growing up in Prince George’s County, this has become a full-circle moment for me,” Young said. “MahoganyBooks is excited to open our doors to the visitors of National Harbor and the residents of Prince George’s County.”
MahoganyBooks, named after Derrick and co-founder Ramunda Young’s soon-to-be 16-year-old daughter, was founded in 2007 as an online bookstore. It opened its first physical store in 2017, the first new bookstore in Anacostia in two decades.
The National Harbor location is 1,200 square feet, almost three times as large as the original Anacostia store.
Sales this year at the original store have been brisk. Despite closing for part of the year because of the pandemic, it sold 100,000 books between May and October.
The bookstore hosts book discussions and signings with authors, leaders and entertainers, as well as book drives to support children’s literacy.
The Youngs were featured on the “Today” Show earlier this month after Obama surprised them by dropping in on one of their Very Smart Brothas Book Club meetings on Zoom Jan. 26, where they were discussing Obama’s new book, “A Promised Land.” They’d been expecting a member of Obama’s staff.
They tweeted the surprise Obama appearance.
Black-owned independent bookstores play a critical role in communities all across our country. I wanted to show my support, so I dropped in to surprise the folks from @MahoganyBooks & the Very Smart Brothas Book Club. Take a look. pic.twitter.com/sQdc8xY6xY
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 2, 2021
The new MahoganyBooks will be at 121 American Way, near National Harbor’s waterfront.