James Patterson Makes $1 Million Pledge

Photo by Flickr User Blaues Sofa licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Photo by Flickr User Blaues Sofa licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

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.

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