Shelf AwarenessOn the eve of Independent Booksellers Week, James Patterson has announced he will be donating £250,000 (about US$424,600) to independent bookshops in the U.K. and Ireland in a campaign similar to the one that has met with such success in the U.S. The Booksellers Association reported that independent bookshops with dedicated children's book sections are eligible for a grant of between £250 and £5,000. Awards will be made "on the basis of the strength and innovatory nature of the proposal submitted." As with the U.S. program, Patterson is particularly interested in funding initiatives that will encourage children to read.
"What a fantastic way to celebrate the start of this year's Independent Booksellers Week," said BA CEO Tim Godfray. "This is good news for bookshops and anyone who loves reading. We are delighted that James Patterson is acting on his love of bookshops and his appreciation of their vital importance to cultural and community life. His generous donation will give our bookshops a chance to create new programs, try out new ideas, and use their creativity to encourage children to read. I know our members will relish the opportunity!"
Noting that "far too many children are in danger of living their lives without books," Patterson said, "This runs the risk of living in a world run by the shortsighted, by the empathy-challenged, and by the glib. Bookshops are the most viable bulwark against this and I need to be part of the fight to ensure their survival. In the U.S., I have worked to identify independent bookshops for whom this money may make a difference, and bookshops that were already doing good work. I have been inspired, moved and delighted by the innovative proposals I have received over the last year. I can't wait to get started and see what the U.K. and Ireland's incredible and pioneering bookshops propose."
The names of the first bookshops to have made successful bids will be announced in September, as part of the autumn Books Are My Bag campaign.