Cheers to James Patterson
Late last month, James Patterson made 55 bookstores very happy: the bestselling and prolific author sent checks of between $2,000 and $15,000 to 55 independent bookstores across the country, for a total of $267,000. This was the first round of a series of grants to bookstores that he announced last fall and that will total $1 million by the end of this year.
Patterson aims to support indies, he said, because "every day, booksellers are out there saving our country's literature. The work they do to support schools and the rest of their communities leaves a lasting love of reading in children and adults. I believe their work is vital to our future as a country. What are we if we don't have our own literature? I couldn't be happier to, very humbly, support booksellers in their mission. Maybe that's because it's my mission as well."
Patterson has been remarkably flexible with the grants, asking only that the stores be "viable" and have a children's section. Money can be used for just about anything--from building repairs to programs to bring authors to local schools to providing bonuses for staff members to upgrading computers.
Patterson also gave a $15,000 grant to California Bookstore Day, a new event taking place on May 3: 93 California independent bookstores will hold parties, signings, readings and more celebrating their individuality, and will sell books published exclusively for the Day.
Patterson will send out more grants during the course of the year and is still undecided about which stores to include. This allows indie bookstore fans like you to join the fun by nominating your favorite store on Patterson's website. In the meantime, and as often as you want, you can also vote in a less dramatic but highly effective way: by shopping at your local bookstore, for all the reasons that Patterson so eloquently described. --John Mutter, editor-in-chief, Shelf Awareness