I’ve heard it argued that there are authors in favor of book segregation. If one writes with an extremely narrow audience in mind then I suppose they want what they’ve written to appear where it is most likely to most quickly be found. The author of a Black Western may not want his book next to Louis L’Amour because he believes, perhaps correctly, that more sales will be made due to placement on the No Tanning Bed Necessary shelf. If my perspective was one of pure selfishness perhaps I could relate to such a stance, but I’m holding on to the quaint notion that legitimate authors of all races write books that they hope everybody will read. And “everybody” will not bother to peruse the Black Only shelf, especially because publishers have been somewhat narrow minded about the subject matter of fiction geared to African Americans that they’ve elected to put out. I won’t cast full blame on the publishing houses though because their main concern is making a profit. They print what they believe will sell based on what has been proven in the past. Readers are the true decision makers, deciding what will be published by deciding what they'll buy.
Returning to the grocery analogy for a moment, when food shopping I aim to buy gluten free when feasible. If a store doesn't stock it in isolation from other foods then I have to do a fair amount of label reading. I’ve accepted that I need to shop at a slower pace to do ingredients scanning. If acceptable in a grocery store then certainly I shouldn’t mind doing a little reading in a bookstore. After all, love of reading is why I’m there in the first place. I go to a bookstore in search of stories. Not black stories, not white stories, just stories. Make that, just good stories. If by chance I do happen to be in a particular mood for "good black stories", I don't mind wading through some non-Black books to find them.
Rock and Roll did not become ROCK AND ROLL until it left the Black Only shelf and was made prominent to a general audience. Same thing for Hip Hop. Where you end up is supposed to be on a grander scale than where you started out if ambition is present. With the exception of a small handful of crossover stars, most residents of the Black Shelf will never gain broad recognition if they don’t make it to the center aisle where the majority of the population does their browsing. In the 21st century black authors should not have to stage sit-ins and marches for the right to equal shelving.