Oline H. Cogdill

Books are essential for those of us love to read. And read we do, especially during this time when staying home is the order of the day.

And let me pause here for a big shout-out and thank you to the heroes of 2020—health-care workers, first responders, caregivers, truck drivers, grocery store and pharmacy staffs, janitors and trash workers, postal and delivery folks, car repair people, veterinarians, and the others who are helping to keep the world going.

Back to the blog.

Those of us who love to read also love to visit bookstores, to walk among the aisles, finding new worlds, new characters.

James Patterson knows the value of bookstores and his latest project is to help independent booksellers.

Mega bestseller Patterson will be making a personal donation of $500,000 to help save independent bookstores across the country. Patterson has partnered with the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation and the American Booksellers Association (ABA) to promote the campaign.

During the next few weeks, Patterson will ask writers, readers, and book lovers to contribute to #SaveIndieBookstores.

The campaign will run through April 30, at which point Binc will distribute the total funds raised to eligible independent bookstores.

More information is at SaveIndieBookstores.com.

“In these uncertain times, it’s up to all of us to do our part and to help those in need however we can,” Patterson stated in a press release.

“The White House is concerned about saving the airline industry and big businesses—I get that. But I’m concerned about the survival of independent bookstores, which are at the heart of main streets across the country.

He added, “I believe that books are essential. They make us kinder, more empathetic human beings. And they have the power to take us away—even momentarily—from feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and scared. I hope that the funds we raise keep bookstores alive at a time when we need them the most.”

American Booksellers Association CEO Allison K Hill added in the press release, “This support for independent bookstores is incredibly generous. We are grateful to Mr. Patterson and Binc and we feel very lucky to have them as part of our bookselling family. It is especially meaningful to have this support from people who recognize the cultural contributions of independent bookstores, and who appreciate the vital role that independent bookstores play in connecting readers to books, and in creating community. This fund will help ensure that this good work continues.”

Pam French, executive director of the Binc Foundation, added, “We are honored and humbled to work with Mr. Patterson and the ABA to ensure the generosity of book people across the nation goes directly to bookstores that are fighting to survive. In these unprecedented times, bookstores are more vital to the well-being of their communities than ever.”

Patterson probably needs little introduction as his books have been a mainstay of best-sellers lists for decades, from his Alex Cross series to the hundreds of novels on which he has teamed up with other writers.

To be considered for a grant, ABA member bookstores can visit SaveIndieBookstores.com to fill out a short application form beginning April 10 and continuing through April 27. Funds will be distributed to eligible stores by May 15.

Photo of James Patterson by Stephanie Diani