Busboys and Poets Books

Busboys and Poets aims to be not just a restaurant, but also a space in which intellectual, cultural, political and social issues can come together for a discussion that benefits everyone. Our bookstore, Busboys and Poets Books, aims to be a space in which literature, politics, society and social justice can be engaged with in a productive and exciting atmosphere.

Busboys and Poets Books is an extension of our mission to promote cultural, political and historical awareness in our diverse communities. We hope to use and maintain this space as one in which the local community can come together to learn about the great artistic, cultural and political developments of our time.

As an independent, local bookstore, one of our highest missions is to promote the work of local authors – of whom there are a great deal! Our community is both well read and well written, and we hope to shine a spotlight on its talents. In the past we have hosted several exciting author events, such as a discussion of the history of the American folk music tradition by Hyattsville resident Steven Wade, on his book The Beautiful Music all Around Us: Folk Recordings and the American Experience.

We have a deep commitment to showcasing books and authors who have contributed to great social struggles, especially that of the black struggles for civil rights. This extends also to issues of women’s and LGBTQ liberation, and more generally to the experiences of all the dispossessed and marginalized in this country. Around the year you will find us featuring titles, authors and events as our own contribution to their struggles for awareness and justice, as a special part of our mission as a bookstore. We also feature diverse selections of children’s and young adult books, helping to integrate us into the community at all levels.

Join the Busboys and Poets Books listserv

Busboys and Poets Books is open 7 days a week. Hours match the restaurants. 

Busboys and Poets Book Clubs

Our monthly book clubs at Shirlington and Hyattsville locations meet to discuss our favorite thing - books!  Book club books align with the Busboys and Poets mission and highlight various social justice issues. Our bookstore carry the books our book club members choose and our members understand the importance of supporting their local bookstore, and make a conscious effort to purchase their books in-house. For more information on our book clubs, and to be added to our listservs check out our book club page.

Author Events

Busboys and Poets Books hosts author events as a service to our literary community regularly throughout the year.  If the title is one that will be carried in the store, depending on subject matter, availability, prospects for sales and distribution of the title, we may invite an author to discuss and sign their books as a service to the community.

Prior to scheduling, we request an advance copy of the book for the bookstore staff’s review.  Please allow 4-6 weeks for review. Send a copy of your book to: 

Busboys and Poets Books
Attn: Book Review Committee
2021 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

Contact us: books@busboysandpoets.com

Guidelines for Co-sponsors

We rely on co-sponsors to drive attendance to our author events. Below are some guidelines and tools to help fulfill your co-sponsorship role.


Actively promote the event to member lists and supporters via (e)newsletters, social media, websites, flyers, posters, press contacts, etc.   


Always promote the book via our website event page. Never promote the book via Amazon! All book, event, and co-sponsor information is listed on our website event page. Use this information in event promotion. The link will be provided in the event confirmation.    Include all of the co-sponsors in outreach.   
When promoting on Twitter, use @busboysandpoets. On Facebook, tag Busboys and Poets.   
Use the Busboys and Poets logo.   


Co-Sponsors will receive publicity in all of our promotional work: (e)newsletters, social media, in-store displays, press releases, and websites. Co-sponsors will be credited and thanked during event introductions.   

Optional Items:

On the night of the event, set up an information table with literature about your organization. Participate in event introductions.

Information for Authors and Publishers

If you are an author or publisher interested in having your book(s) carried at Busboys and Poets Books, or are interested in reading your poetry at our poetry events, read our frequently asked questions for more information. 

Book Selection Criteria and Review Process

Q. What criteria do you use to determine which books you will carry? 
We use a combination of criteria to determine what titles we will carry.

Books must be:
1) In line with the Busboys and Poets Tribal Statement:

Busboys and Poets is a community where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted…a place to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body and soul…a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide…we believe that by creating such a space we can inspire social change and begin to transform our community and the world.

2) High-quality, in terms of both literary craft and the research/scholarship. 
3) Books with sales potential. As a small independent bookstore, we cannot afford to stock titles that will not sell.

Q. What do I need to do to get my book carried by Busboys and Poets Books? 
Have your publisher send a review copy of your book to this address:

Attn: Book Buyer
Busboys and Poets Books
2021 14th ST NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

Note that the review process may take four to six weeks. If we decide that the book is a good fit with our mission, we would prefer to buy the book directly from a book distributor or wholesaler, so please include the distribution information along with the book. We will accept review copies of books directly from authors, but we rarely buy books directly from them, preferring instead to use vendors in the publishing industry. If we decide to stock the book, we will contact the distributor directly. Also note that review copies will not be returned. 

Scheduling Book Events and Readings at Busboys and Poets

Q. How do I set up a book signing and/or reading?
Busboys and Poets regularly hosts authors for readings and signings at all four Busboys and Poets locations. Depending on subject matter, availability, prospects for sales, and distribution of the title, we may invite an author to speak about and sign their books as a service to the community. Additionally, many authors have rented space here to host their own events, such as book release parties or private readings. 

If you are interested in scheduling a book-related event, the first step is to provide a copy of your book for review (unless you know it is already in stock in the bookstore). All titles should be sent to:

Attn: Author Events Busboys and Poets Books
2021 14th St NW Washington, D.C. 20009

Allow four to six weeks for review. The review copies will not be returned.