James Patterson Gives Bookseller Bonuses
|James Patterson during a recent appearance at the Vero Beach Book Center.|
Some 87 independent bookstore employees are now receiving bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 as part of James Patterson's bookseller bonus program, announced earlier this year and handled in conjunction with the American Booksellers Association. (For the full list from the ABA, click here.) At the same time, more school libraries are receiving grants of between $1,000 and $10,000 as part of a library grant program, handled in conjunction with the Scholastic Reading Club, a program totaling about $1.75 million. The bestselling author, who has donated millions of dollars to bookstores, libraries and other organizations in the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand, and more than a million books to children, had announced the bookseller bonus program, with bonuses totalling $250,000, earlier this fall. Anyone could nominate a bookstore employee by answering one question: "Why does this bookseller deserve a holiday bonus?" Patterson himself chose the winners.
According to an early report from the AP (via U.S. News & World Report), bookstore beneficiaries include Mark Haber, manager of Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex., who received a $5,000 bonus. He was nominated by an employee at the store, who wrote that Haber's "excitement for books in translation is so well-known around the store, it's only halfway a store in-joke that his enthusiasm has created a 'Cult of Mark' (or sometimes 'Haberclique'), because there's a steady group of regulars who will essentially buy anything" that Haber recommends.
|Mark Haber at Brazos|
Haber wrote to the AP: "I can only say that I love books and live for literature. Introducing great works to readers is a joy and a privilege. In Houston, at Brazos Bookstore, you'd never know there was an Amazon.com or a decline in reading traditional books. Books are alive and well in this city."
NPR had a short segment with comments from other recipients.
ABA CEO Oren Teicher told the AP: "Once again, we are enormously grateful for James Patterson's wonderful generosity. Nobody puts their money where their mouth is more than Jim. Providing extra financial support to individuals who spend their entire day putting books into the hands of customers and spreading the joy of reading is an extraordinary gesture."
In a statement, Patterson said the program is a "humble acknowledgment of some of the terrific work taking place in libraries and bookstores. Here's to communities supporting their bookstores and libraries. Here's to a country that makes reading a priority. Here's to flourishing libraries and booksellers, and to a joyful holiday season!"