Wow. The #SaveIndieBookstores campaign that began on April 2 and ended this past Tuesday, May 5, raised a total of $1,239,595 to support independent bookstores, Bookselling This Week reported. The campaign was a partnership of James Patterson (who donated $500,000), the American Booksellers Association and the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc). More than 1,800 donors contributed.
Binc executive director Pam French said, "This incredible effort was supported wholeheartedly by extremely hard-working volunteers, the ABA team, Binc staff, and countless book-lovers from all over the country and even the world. Their individual efforts came together in a campaign the scale of which we have never seen before at Binc. Everyone's collective efforts mean that hundreds of indie bookshops across the country will be getting emergency disaster assistance that they would not otherwise have received. This message of support from book lovers and from every sector of the book industry clearly demonstrates how deeply people value independent bookstores and the roles they hold in their communities. I am proud of our accomplishments and grateful to all those who made this happen. Thank you."
Besides James Patterson, major contributors included Rick and Becky Riordan, who created a $100,000 matching grant; John Grisham and Stephen King, who appeared in conversation on King's YouTube channel to talk about their new books and promote #SaveIndieBookstores; the regional booksellers associations, some of which had matching grant campaigns; Europa Editions' Our Brilliant Friend event series; SIB-YA After Dark, an hour-long Twitter Ask Me Anything (AMA); and Libro.fm's #SocksforBinc campaign (more on this below), among others.
Organizers emphasized at the beginning of the campaign that the fund is focused on bookstores, with funds distributed in proportion to a store's sales with the goal of helping to replace lost sales. They hoped that stores combine these funds with other funds, whether from the government, their own fundraising campaigns and other sources.
In the meantime, Binc is also aiding booksellers directly and just recently passed the $450,000 mark in funds given away since March 17 to help booksellers' households.
Libro.fm's #SocksforBinc campaign, which concluded on Sunday, raised $28,731 for Binc after 3,858 pairs of socks were sold. More than 1,300 people participated.
In connection with virtual Indie Bookstore Day, Libro.fm had partnered with a group of illustrators, authors and designers to create 10 designs for pairs of socks that it sold to book lovers. The minimum price for a pair of socks was $15, and buyers were encouraged to add donations to the basic price.
The #SocksforBinc pitch: "Pull on your socks, put on an audiobook, and stay safe at home while supporting booksellers across the nation."
One sock designer was Maddie, the 11-year-old daughter of Libro.fm's creative director. He told her that if she sold more than 1,000 pairs of socks she designed, she could pick anything she wanted from DoorDash. With 1,049 pairs sold, she picked Taco del Mar.
Some 75 authors have contributed to an anthology that will be published this summer, with net profits going to Binc.
To be published by Central Avenue Publishing and distributed by Independent Publishers Group, Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort During the Time of COVID-19 collects essays, poems and interviews "to serve as a lifeline into connecting and thriving during this stressful time of isolation as well as a historical perspective that will remain relevant for years to come." The anthology is being edited by journalist and author Jennifer Haupt (who also edits the Psychology Today blog One True Thing) and will be released July 28.
Contributors are a mix of "bestselling and up-and-coming" authors and include Kwame Alexander, Jenna Blum, Andre Dubus III, Jamie Ford, Nikki Giovanni, Jane Hirshfield, Pam Houston, Jean Kwok, Major Jackson, Caroline Leavitt, Ada Limón, Dani Shapiro, David Sheff, Grace Talusan, Steve Yarbrough and Lidia Yuknavitch.
The project began in April when Haupt wrote on Facebook: "Putting this into the universe: I've been struggling with how to do something positive during this time of hardship for many. I don't have money but I DO have a strong community of compassionate writers and readers. SO: I'm putting together a collection of interviews and essays on Love and Comfort During Covid-19. The net profits will go to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation to benefit the bookstore owners who have supported readers and writers, and now need our help. THANK YOU!"
"I was looking for some way to make a dent in the overwhelming grief and devastation, and I hoped other authors would feel the same way," Haupt said. "My publisher agreed to donate her services and a few bestselling authors came on board, then the whole thing started snowballing. Other authors sent me e-mails that they were feeling the same way, and together we could use our words to do something positive--both spiritually and financially."
Michelle Halket at Central Avenue Publishing added: "Every single one of us has a story (or several) of how independent booksellers have supported us and our books. When Jennifer came to me, I knew I had to be a part of it. Since everyone is donating their time, talent, and expertise, we expect the contribution to Binc to be significant."
Canadian comic book retailers and comic book artists and writers have created "Be Our Heroes, Canada," a national celebration of the comic arts intended to "leverage each store's individual audiences to both build and strengthen the national comic book community and generate income for all."
Organized by the Dragon stores, Guelph, Ont., and Ontario retailers Gotham Central, Heroes World and Cyber City Comix, "Be Our Heroes, Canada" will take place over two days through Facebook Live, with scheduled slots for creators and stores. Funds raised will be collected and distributed by the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund, a Canadian organization protecting free speech in the industry, supporting retailers, schools and libraries, creators and publishers.
Jennifer Haines, owner of the Dragon, said, "What started as a conversation between four retailers on how we could cross-promote our shops turned into this idea of a national fundraiser to help preserve Canada's unique comics landscape. Now more than ever, we need to come together to support one another, and provide our respective communities with a way to stay connected, all while protecting retailers that might otherwise fall through the cracks of government funding."
Participants include Adam Gorham, Andy Belanger, Brendan Fletcher, Casey Parsons, Chip Zdarsky, Dylan Burnett, Ed Brisson, J. Torres, Jason Fabok, Jason Loo, Jay Stephens, Karl Kerschl, Ken Lashley, Michael Cho, Ray Fawkes, Richard Pace, Scott Chantler, Seth, Shawn Daly, Svetlana Chmakova and Yanick Paquette.
For more information, visit @beourheroescanada on Facebook.