Best-selling author James Patterson has pledged to give away $1 million of his personal fortune to independent booksellers around the United States.
“The future of books in America is at risk,” James told Publisher’s Weekly. “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.”
James read through every one of the proposals and personally approved each one. The grants range from $2,000 to $15,000. In most instances, bookstores got what they requested and a few got even more. The only qualifications are that the store be a viable bookstore and that it have a children’s section. He also stressed that the first lot of grants, totalling $267,000 US to 54 bookstores, was only the first round. “We’ll follow it with as many as we can do,” he said and encouraged more booksellers to apply. “It’s as easy as putting on half a page of paper what you need to do. It’s not like applying to Harvard. It’s not difficult, and there’s no catch. We want to be inundated.”
What an awesome guy. More details on applying or nominating a bookstore are available at his website.