#SaveIndieBookstores Nears $1 Million Mark; Hoping for PPP Funds; Radical Publishers Alliance; IBD Stats
The #SaveIndieBookstores campaign, which is ending tonight, has so far raised a total of $956,414, Bookselling This Week reported yesterday.
#SaveIndieBookstores began on April 2 with a $500,000 donation from James Patterson. It is supported by the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc), the American Booksellers Association and Reese Witherspoon's Book Club. All monies will be given to independent bookstores in mid-May. Through yesterday, #SaveIndieBookstores has raised $456,414 on top of Patterson's $500,000 donation.
Among many supporters were Rick and Becky Riordan, who announced a $100,000 matching grant campaign last week; a SIB-YA After Dark hour-long Ask Me Anything (AMA), which featured a range of YA authors; the regional booksellers associations, which made generous donations; and, last night, John Grisham and Stephen King, who appeared in conversation on King's YouTube channel to talk about their new books, Camino Winds and If It Bleeds, respectively. The event was free, but attendees were encouraged to donate to Binc.
In "Evanston's new blight: Brown-papered windows of shopkeepers like me, on life support," an opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune, Nina Barrett, owner of Bookends and Beginnings, Evanston, Ill., writes of her disappointment at being one of the 94% of applicants for PPP loans who didn't receive one in the first round and the trauma of trying to remain in business during the Covid-19 pandemic. She also notes what she calls a "previous deadly virus [that] escaped from a Seattle laboratory 25 years ago, racing first through the bookselling world, weakening its financial mechanisms and threatening its survival. Known as Amazon.com, it spread across the country, replicating ferociously in tax-exempted warehouses, eating away the foundations of bricks-and-mortar retail on Main Streets, and in shopping malls everywhere in the U.S. and abroad."
Her fear: that between the Amazon "virus" and the Covid-19 virus, downtowns like hers will become a sea of permanently closed storefronts with windows blocked by brown paper.
An international group of left-wing publishers have formed the Radical Publishers Alliance to support each other during the world shutdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Participating U.S. publishers include AK Press, PM Press, Verso Books, Haymarket Books, the New Press, Seven Stories Press, Beacon Press, the Feminist Press, O/R Books and the Evergreen Review/Foxrock Books.
The Alliance wrote: "With the entire book industry in jeopardy, the only response can be one of unity and solidarity. Independent radical publishers struggle for survival in the best of times and with the book industry facing huge challenges as a result of Covid-19 and the economic shutdown, a group of radical publishers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada have come together to share advice on publishing during the crisis and to encourage readers to support radical presses."
The presses are sharing online promotions and authors events and will work together on virtual panels and book launches, and maintain an online hub for readers to find "their next great radical read from a left publisher." For more information, see the Left Book Club partners page.
The Alliance's first initiative is #RadicalMay, an online book fair featuring panel discussions, talks and teach-ins with authors from 50 radical publishers from the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Spain, Catalonia, Basque Country, Italy, Germany, Argentina and Indonesia. The book fair, held in partnership with LITERAL, a radical festival of books and ideas that's held annually in Barcelona, Spain, begins, appropriately, May 1 and continues through the month.
Samantha Schoech, executive director of Independent Bookstore Day, shared some additional statistics from last Saturday's #virtualbookstoreparty.
The IBD Twitter account, @BookstoreDay, saw a 681% increase in impressions and a 505% increase in mentions, and gained more than 200 new followers. The account's most popular tweet was a welcome to a Twitter party with Washington Nationals pitcher and indie bookstore fan Sean Doolittle held on April 22, which had more than 30,000 impressions. On Facebook, meanwhile, IBD saw its total reach increase by 233% and an increase in "likes" of 321%.