By Heather Janssen

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It’s the race to read about race. Books on the topic have been selling out online and flying off store shelves nationwide as community members look to self-educate.

At Capital Books in downtown Sacramento, Diana Medina purchased book after book in hopes of kick-starting a new chapter of changes for the younger generation in her life.

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“This is the best way I could be active and supporting the movement right now,” Medina said.

The topics of race and protest can often be difficult to explain to kids, she says.

“(I want) to help them not only think about what’s all happening but also help my siblings and family hold space for these conversations,” Medina said. “I think that’s where it all has to start too.”

But she’s not alone, books written for the young and old are in high demand. Nearly all of the top 15 on Amazon’s ‘Movers and Shakers’ list involve the topic of race relations. Books like “How to Be an Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi and “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo are among a couple of popular titles.

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Many of these books are now on back-order. Ross Rojek, who owns Capital Books, said he and other bookstores are trying to keep up with the demand.

“Almost every book you can get know is out of print and publishers are rushing to get them printed,” Rojek said.

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Protests nationwide started these conversations after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. It’s something University of Pacific ethnic studies director, Ahmed Kanna, says may have been a turning point.

“I don’t think black people are shocked,” Kanna said. “But I think a lot of white people got shocked when they saw George Floyd.”

He says more people are doing the research and beginning to question what they’ve been taught.

“I sense that a big majority in the United States don’t want to see this keep going on,” Kanna said. “We all want this to change, right? But how will that change?”

Questions this historical movement is now working to answer.

“It’s a very self-aware thing to say I don’t know enough about this topic,” Medina said.

But the first step, many like Medina agree, is education.

Capital Books published a list of recommending race-related books on their website. They’re also putting out a call to support black-owned bookstores in the community as well. Rojek also said if a physical copy of a book isn’t available, there are e-books or audiobook options.

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Here’s another list of antiracist books that are selling out. 

Heather Janssen