Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Author Demands Apology from Bookstore Owner

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Author Demands Apology from Bookstore Owner

Article excerpt

Best-selling African-American author Terry McMillan angrily demanded an apology Thursday from a University City bookstore owner whose threat of a picket caused her to cancel a book signing here.

Antoine Coffer, the owner of Afrocentric Books & Cafe Inc., had alleged that McMillan's publisher discriminated against him by arranging a promotional tour for her Tuesday at Library Ltd. in Clayton. He removed McMillan's books from his shelves and called for a nationwide boycott of her novels.

McMillan's response: "He has made people . . . believe that I think I'm too good to go to black bookstores, that I have forgotten where I came from. I resent that there's one city in the United States of America where I don't go to one black bookstore, and all of a sudden I'm a traitor. . . . He owes me a major apology. And if he apologizes to me, then we can talk, because I believe in forgiveness." Told of her demand, Coffer said: "She wants an apology from me? I'm the one who deserves an apology." Both Library Ltd. and Afrocentric Books had wanted McMillan for a tour of her hardcover edition of "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" last year. But both were turned down. Coffer says he'd been told that his request would be passed on to whoever would be organizing her paperback tour. Signet, a division of Penguin USA, then set up the paperback tour. Library Ltd. was put on the tour. Afrocentric Books contacted Signet about a month ago but was told it was too late to be added to McMillan's itinerary. Coffer has complained that McMillan's publisher had discriminated against black bookstores. And he charged that McMillan was forgetting where she got her start: on the shelves of black bookstores. Caught in the middle, McMillan decided to drop out. "The reason I didn't come (to St. Louis) was because I feared for my fans the day would be inconvenient and perhaps embarrassing and humiliating. And personally I didn't need the hassle. You know? I didn't need the hassle - that's the reason I didn't come. …

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