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, is a space in which literature, politics, society and social justice are engaged with in a productive and exciting atmosphere.

We have a deep commitment to showcasing books and authors – on a local and national level! – 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. Learn more about what we do below, or email books [at] busboysandpoets.com with questions!

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Busboys and Poets Books

Author and Literary Events

At Busboys and Poets Books we believe that both the act of reading and the craft of writing thrive in a community. With this in mind we host a number of literary events throughout the year (a list of events can be found here); from book discussions to literary themed dinners, we aim to provide inclusive events for introverted bookworms and talkative academics alike! Events include, but are not limited to:

  • Monthly Book Clubs
  • Author Events
  • Literary Panels
  • Local Author Showcases
  • Youth Events – Including Story Time at Brookland and Takoma
  • Author Dinners
  • And More!

If you would like to attend or host an event and have a question, please email books [at] busboysandpoets.com with your name and information. A bookstore representative will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

Other Literary Services

Books To Go
“Would you like a book with that?” Don’t just feed your body, feed your mind too!  Busboys and Poets is thrilled to announce that customers may now order from 20 of Busboys and Poets Books’ top recommended titles, and have it delivered to their door within one hour. Busboys and Poets is the first restaurant in the Washington, D.C. area (and maybe the country… and maybe the world) to offer books as an immediate delivery order.

We offer discounts to book clubs, teachers, military members, and more!

Bookstore Curation

Our expert booksellers are passionate about thoughtful curation. We would love to bring our research to your book collection! We’ve recently started working with local independent schools to curate their libraries for diversity and sensitivity and would love to expand the project.
If you have a boutique, co-working space, etc. and you would like to incorporate books, please reach out to us at books@busboysandpoets.com, subject line “Special Curation.”

Offsite Events

Busboys and Poets Books is happy to provide books for your literary event!
If you are holding an event with an author (or authors) and would like to have a bookseller present, please contact books@busboysandpoets.com, subject line “Offsite Proposal”.


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?

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 where possible, so please include distribution information along with the book. We will accept review copies of books directly from authors, but we prefer 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.