Oline Cogdill

For several years now, mega-bestseller James Patterson has been an advocate of literacy, supplying schools and programs with books for young readers.

Now Patterson has announced that he will be giving $1 million to independent bookstores to help support them. He will be donating $267,000 to 55 bookstores as well as to California Bookstore Day on May 3.

The grants range from $2,000 to $15,000; the average donation is $4,750. The rest of the $1 million will be disbursed in stages during the rest of the year, according to his web site.

Patterson says that the only requirements were that stores be "viable" and have a children's section.

In a statement, Patterson said, “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.”

Some of the stores submitted proposals for how they would use money; some were recommended by industry professionals. Nine stores were recommended by fellow authors Kate DiCamillo, Pam Munoz Ryan, Brian Selznick, R.L. Stine and Clare Vanderpool. (Booksellers and book lovers can continue to suggest favorite stores at JamesPatterson.com.)

Stores aren't required to report on how they use the money, but Patterson has said he hopes stores will share their experiences and how the money leads to change in the stores.

One store has state it will use the money to bring children's authors to local schools and the store. Another will put the grant toward buying a van for mobile author events and book fairs. Others will use the money for needed repairs such as damaged floors and worn carpeting.

Needless to say, the bookstore owners are thrilled and appreciative.

In a New York Times story, Elaine Petrocelli, co-owner of Book Passage in Corte Madera and San Francisco, Calif., said, "We can't have a business plan that says James Patterson is is going to come along and give us something every year, but these are things that we wouldn't be able to do otherwise.

“It wouldn't mean we'd go out of business, but it would mean that this particular dream would be put off for a few years,” added Petrocelli whose grant is going toward buying a van for mobile author events and book fairs.

The First Round of Stores

The following are the 55 stores (and California Bookstore Day) receiving the first round of James Patterson's grants of $1 million, ranging from $2,000 to $15,000, and what some of them are doing with them, as noted by the stores or media, according to Shelf Awareness. Not all stores disclosed the amount of their awards:

California Bookstore Day ($15,000 for marketing and publicity)

A Whale of a Tale, Irvine, Calif.

Alamosa Books, Albuquerque, N.M.

Anderson's, Naperville, Ill. (recommended by R.L. Stine)

Andover Bookstore, Andover, Mass.

Bank Street Bookstore, New York, N.Y.

Book Bin, Northbrook, Ill.

Book Culture, New York, N.Y.

Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif. (toward the purchase of a van for mobile author events and book fairs)

Book Revue, Huntington, N.Y. (keep employees, pay property tax, repair floor and roof)

The Bookies, Denver, Colo.

The BookLoft, Great Barrington, Mass.

BookPeople, Austin, Tex.

Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla.

Books & Greetings, Northvale, N.J.

Books of Wonder, New York, N.Y. (recommended by R.L. Stine)

Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif. ($4,500 to bring children's authors to schools and the store)

The Bookstore Plus, Lake Placid, N.Y.

Booktenders, Doylestown, Pa. (recommended by Brian Selznick, finish gallery)

Bookworks, Albuquerque, N.M.

Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex. ($5,000 for kids' programming)

Brewster Book Store, Brewster, Mass.

Broadside Book Shop, Northampton, Mass.

Browseabout Books, Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Children’s Book World, Los Angeles, Calif.

Children's Book World, Haverford, Pa. (recommended by Brian Selznick, $2,500 for authors visiting schools)

The Children's Bookstore, Baltimore, Md. (possibly add to program to help teachers buy books for use in classes)

Doylestown Bookshop, Doylestown, Pa. (creative space for older children)

Eighth Day Books, Wichita, Kan. (recommended by Clare Vanderpool)

Gallery Bookshop/Bookwinkle Children, Mendocino, Calif. ($5,000 for computer system upgrades)

Hicklebee's, San Jose, Calif. (new computer system and manager bonus)

Innisfree Bookshop, Lincoln, N.H.

Lake Forest BookStore, Lake Forest, Ill.

Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Ga. (purchase of a bookmobile)

Malaprop's Bookstore and Café, Asheville, N.C. ($7,500 for floor restoration and new carpeting)

Mysterious Galaxy, Redondo Beach and San Diego, Calif.

Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, Vt. (kids' programming)

Oblong Books, Millerton, N.Y. ($7,500 for roof repairs)

Odyssey Book Shop, South Hadley, Mass.

Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, Colo. ($2,500 for a summer reading program)

Page & Palette, Fairhope, Ala.

Park Road Books, Charlotte, N.C. ($2,500 for new carpeting)

Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn.

Percy's Burrow, Topsham, Me. ($2,500)

Phoenix Books, Essex Junction, Vt. ($5,000 for community outreach)

Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass.

Reading Reptile, Kansas City, Mo. (recommended by Brian Selznick)

Red Balloon, St. Paul, Minn. (recommended by Kate DiCamillo)

Russo's Marketplace Books, Bakersfield, Calif.

Schuler Books and Music, Okemos, Mich. (books for children)

Subterranean Books, St. Louis, Mo.

Wellesley Books, Wellesley, Mass. (iPad to sell books at off-site events, a video camera and a small PA system)

Wild Rumpus, Minneapolis, Minn. (recommended by Kate DiCamillo)

Wonderland Books, Rockford, Ill.

The Yellow Brick Road, San Diego, Calif. (recommended by Pam Munoz