DRMRAB members have earned the nickname, “The Paperback Gang,” due to their high level of participation at the many book festivals held throughout the year, and their voracious appetite for purchasing paperback books. Members are proud of their expansive bookshelves, many of which hold books with personal, handwritten notes and signatures from their favorite authors. Their motto is: "We are not just a book club, we are a movement.”
Don't Read Me, Read A Book is based out of Columbus, Ohio, with chapters located throughout the United States and on Facebook. DRMRAB started online as a Facebook group in January 2015. I started the book club because I wanted my own group, instead of administering someone else’s. Fast forward to April of the same year, when I became acquainted with a couple of local readers and decided to start an in-person club that would meet once a month here in Columbus. A very good friend of mine, author Fabiola Joseph, suggested that I start offering readers in other cities a chance to organize under the DRMRAB umbrella. So, in February 2016, the first chapters began. Our Facebook membership has grown to over 2,000 members and our chapter members now total over 200 and growing!
DRMRAB promotes literacy in the African-American community, while supporting authors in a positive, judgement-free environment. We stand out from other groups for a few reasons. First, our members support the authors we read by purchasing thousands of paperback books. With the popularity of eBooks, common thought was that paperbacks were dead until we came along and showed everyone how false that assumption was. Second, we host and participate in face-to-face discussions with authors, and you really don't see that anymore. The name of our organization has a very special meaning to me. My favorite cousin (who passed away last year) helped me come up with the concept during a battle for my attention, while I was trying to read. That memory is so dear to my heart, that I give out a yearly award in his honor.
BPM: Do you host special events during the year or do you work for any charities?
Every year, we gather at the Sistahs on Lit Book Festival. Papaya Wagstaff, who happens to be our DMV chapters chairman is the owner of this great event. S.O.L is amazing because it gives book clubs a chance to mingle with fellow readers as well as different authors. Yes, we also participate in several charities. When we first heard of the Flint, Michigan, water crisis, we teamed up with Hood Books to send over 8,500 bottles of water to Flint’s residents. In 2015, we adopted a family for Christmas, and in 2016 we adopted two families. We've also donated countless books to children. This year, we will also assist families with back-to-school and Christmas needs, among other initiatives. As far as hosting event every chapter host several authors throughout the year.