“In these uncertain times, it’s up to all of us to do our part and to help those in need however we can,” says Patterson. “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. 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 says, “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, says, "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. I extend my thanks and gratitude to every person who donates. Together we can help save our bookstores."
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the #SaveIndieBookstores campaign?
This is a fundraising and promotional campaign to raise money for independent bookstores and to increase awareness about the vital role the indies play in supporting authors, books, and ideas, and in contributing to their communities.
How did this campaign come about?
Bestselling author James Patterson approached the ABA about helping indie bookstores during the COVID-19 crisis and a movement was born. Patterson offered to donate $500k to start a fundraising and promotional campaign and, with the help of a small focus group of booksellers, some of whom had already approached the ABA with similar ideas; the ABA Board; Binc; Reese’s Book Club; and dedicated ABA staff, #SaveIndieBookstores was launched.
What’s the donation goal for the fund?
As the crisis is still evolving the goal is a moving target. The need is significant and we are hoping the fund raises millions of dollars.
Will this fund be enough money to save indie bookstores?
Not by itself. Our hope is that stores combine this money with other funds they’re receiving from the government, their own fundraising campaigns, and other sources, and that combined all of this money helps the indies weather this storm. Support from publishers, landlords, authors, their communities, and customers will be critical as well.
When does the fund launch?
The fund launches today, April 2, with an announcement by AP at approximately 10:30am EDT.
Why do we need this fund when Binc already has a general fund that supports booksellers and bookstores?
Binc has done incredible work to support booksellers and bookstores over the years. Given the volume of requests for assistance currently they are focused on supporting booksellers right now through their general fund. If booksellers are to have jobs on the other side of the crisis we need to support bookstores as well. #SaveIndieBookstores will help the bookstores. The two efforts combined will help meet the overall need.
What is ABA’s role?
ABA is promoting the campaign to the public, publishers, authors, and other prospective donors, and offering some administrative help. We have created the website and social media around the campaign.
What is Binc’s role?
Binc is a 401(c) 3 that is receiving donations and distributing the funds. This restricted fund was established through a gift agreement with Patterson using his initial $500k donation. Binc is promoting the campaign and soliciting donors.
What Is Reese’s Book Club’s role?
Reese Witherspoon had already begun a campaign to support Binc through her book club, beginning with an announcement on Instagram two weeks ago. The links she has been using will direct donations to the Save Indie Bookstores fund going forward and she will continue promoting independent bookstores and asking her community to support them through donations and purchases.
Who can donate the fund and how do they make a donation?
Anyone can donate any amount to the fund. To donate, donors can visit SaveIndieBookstores.com and click on the Give Now button that will take them to Binc’s donation page. Donations can be made by check or credit card. Donors can also contact Kathy Bartson at 734-471-0201 or Kathy@bincfoundation.org . Donations are tax deductible.
When can donors donate money?
Now! Donations will be accepted now through April 30, 2020.
How do stores apply?
Stores will fill out a simple 5-minute online form at SaveIndieBoookstores.com. Applications will be accepted 4/10/20 – 4/27/20. The deadline to apply is midnight on April 27, 2020.
How are funds distributed?
Funds will be distributed in proportion to a store’s sales. (The goal here is to contribute toward replacing lost sales, use a fair method to determine distribution, and ensure that stores get funds corresponding to their need.)
How much money could bookstores receive?
The amount an eligible bookstore receives will depend on how much money is donated to the funds by April 30th and how many eligible bookstores apply.
How much of the money will go to bookstores?
100% of the funds raised going forward will be distributed to bookstores.
When will funds be distributed?
Funds will be distributed the first two weeks of May 2020.
How can I help?
· Donate at SaveIndieBookstores.com.
· Promote #SaveIndieBookstores by sharing the hashtag and website.
· Let your followers know that you donated, and encourage them to donate as well.
· Encourage your followers to buy books from independent bookstores right now.
· Share why bookstores are important to you online and in your community.
· Help us make this a movement to get us to the other side of this crisis.