On Wednesday, best-selling author James Patterson made the announcement that he would be donating $1 million of his personal fortune to independent bookstores.
According to Publishers Weekly, Patterson said 54 bookstores across the country and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association would receive $267,000. The full list of independent bookstores receiving grants can be found on Patterson’s website. The remaining $750,000 would be given out in stages throughout the year with the grants ranging from $2,000 to $15,000. The only grant qualifications? The store be a viable bookstore with a children’s section.
Besides being extremely excited by James Patterson’s commitment to independent bookstores and literacy, this story hits a bit close to home because one of my favorite bookstores—Book Revue in Huntington, N.Y.—will be receiving a grant. It’s a lovely, two-story bookshop that holds readings (I saw Jodi Picoult there during her Handle with Care book tour) and has a large collection of books.
In a phone interview with PW, Patterson said, “the future of books in America is at risk. Bookstore traffic is down. Kids aren’t reading as many books. I want to really shine a light and draw attention to the fact that this is a tricky time. The government will protect the automobile industry and the banking industry, but not books.”
Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of Patterson as a writer. I forced myself to finish Along Came a Spider a few years ago. However, I respect him as an author and a writer, and I recognize his importance in terms of the publishing world. This pledge only makes me respect him even more, and I hope that other authors will follow his lead.
One man can’t save all the independent bookshops, but I’m certainly glad James Patterson is trying.