US Book Industry Charitable Foundation Raises $1 Million for Bookstores

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Ingram Content Group seeds Binc’s ‘Survive to Thrive’ bookstore grant program, with additional major support from Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Bookshop.org.

On Madison Avenue in Manhattan, March 20, 2020, the day New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office ordered a lockdown of non-essential businesses. The Corner Bookstore’s site says it currently is open for browsing by up to three consumers at a time, with a limit of 15 minutes for each. Masks and gloves are required. Image – iStockphoto: Christine McCann

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

John Ingram: ‘Gems of Their Communities’
Setting a goal of US$2 million for its “Survive to Thrive” fund, the nonprofit Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) this morning (April 1) indicates that it has $1,000,228 of that money in donations, the bulk of it coming from Ingram Content Group and Ingram Charities’ $500,000 donation.

The foundation’s intent is to make as many as 200 grants of $10,000 each to independent retailers of books and comics in the States, stores “that have a strong foundation in their communities but are facing financial challenges” from the impact of the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Grants from the fund are to be made by a juried review of applications for money to stabilize stores. The program’s jury is to comprise industry leaders who can assess those applications. Submissions are planned to open in mid-April, with grants to be distributed in early June.

Donations can be made through a separate site for the Survive to Thrive program here. During the pandemic year 2020, Binc reports distributing $2.9 million in support of more than 2,200 bookstores, comics stores, store owners, and employees. During an eight-week period starting in late March last year under the initial brunt of the pathogens assault, the organization says it provided more money than in its prior eight years combined.

In standing up the new Survive to Thrive campaign, Ingram is joined by the independent-bookstore retail platform Bookshop.org ($250,000) as well as Big Five publishers Penguin Random House, Macmillan, HarperCollins, and Hachette, those four houses together providing another $250,000.

Pamela French

Pamela French, Binc’s executive director, is quoted on the news of the new Survive to Thrive program, “We can’t thank John Ingram enough for his visionary gift in support of independent bookstores and comic shops, and for his hands-on advocacy in reaching out to other industry leaders.

“We’re also grateful to the five additional companies that joined Ingram to kick-off the Survive to Thrive grant program.

“The way to meet this campaign’s goal–and help as many stores as possible–is for everyone who can to get involved. Share the word with your friends. Every gift will make a difference.”

John Ingram

John Ingram says, “As we all turn our attention toward getting to the other side of the pandemic, I want to be sure local bookstores—gems of their communities—have a chance to not only survive but thrive.

“Our intent was to make an initial gift to quickly start the Survive to Thrive grant program and to set it up as a matching grant—hoping it will inspire others to join us in supporting local independent booksellers.

Andy Hunter

“Bookstores are the lifeblood of local communities–their success is our success.”

Bookshop.org’s founding CEO Andy Hunter is quoted, saying, “Bookstores should not be worried about staying in business if they have one bad season, an unforeseen major expense, or even a global pandemic.

“Bookshop.org is grateful to Binc for creating this resource and proud to help make it possible.”

Michael Pietsch

Michael Pietsch, CEO of Hachette Book Group, is quoted, saying, “Binc’s mission to support the independent booksellers through difficult times is more important than ever, and we’re grateful to Ingram for spearheading this major fundraising initiative.

“Hachette is a longtime supporter of Binc and the independent booksellers who are so essential to books, authors, and reading, and we’re proud to be part of Binc’s Survive to Thrive initiative in this urgent moment.”

Josh Marwell

For HarperCollins, the company’s president of sales, Josh Marwell, is quoted, saying, “One of the lessons of the pandemic will be the role that books and authors played in helping the public get through very difficult times and the aid and comfort local bookstores provided to their communities in bringing authors and readers together.

“There are thousands of examples of how the nation’s independent booksellers quickly rallied, developed new ways of doing business and were beacons of hope for better times.

“Now is a critical time for independent booksellers and we’re so proud to support Binc’s Survive to Thrive initiative, which will play a crucial role in helping independent stores to retain a solid footing in their communities, as well as extending and refining the many innovative ways of bookselling that have arisen out of necessity during the last year.”

Jaci Updike

At Penguin Random House USA, Jaci Updike, president of sales, is quoted, saying, “It’s a privilege for Penguin Random House, with our contribution, to acknowledge and to join in advancing the indispensable contributions of Binc to the independent bookstore and comic shop community.

“In this time when the availability of wide-ranging information and ideas is more necessary than ever to the future of society, Binc’s support of our authors and their books, by their heroic sustaining of a healthy small-business bookselling ecosystem, is cheering and inspiring.”

Don Weisberg

And speaking for Macmillan, CEO Don Weisberg is quoted, saying, “The independent bookstores of America are critical to our bookselling environment, and now more than ever we all need to rely on each other.

“Macmillan is proud to partner with Binc and play our part in this worthy campaign.”

Since its founding 1996, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation reports issuing at least $9 million in financial assistance and scholarships to more than 9,000 families.

Its core program “provides assistance to bookstore and comic shop owners and their employees who have a demonstrated financial need arising from severe hardship and/or emergency circumstances.”

The Coronavirus in the United States

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a state now struggling with “one of the largest and most alarming” new coronavirus outbreaks in the US market, as Julie Bosman writes today at The New York Times. “Michigan has more recent cases per capita than any other state, and has seen them soar in recent weeks, to more than 5,300 cases a day from about 1,000 on February 21,” Bosman writes.

At this writing, the 7:26 a.m. ET (1226 GMT) update of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center sees 30,461,312 cases in the United States’ population of 332 million, with 552,073 fatalities.

The vaccination bid led by the Biden administration continues to gather speed, having inoculated more than 51.3 million people fully, at least 97.6 million inoculated at least with one dose, and a total 195.6 million doses distributed according to the Washington Post’s updating tracking services. A majority of American adults 65 and older have had at least one injection and in the last week, injections have averaged 2.83 million per day, a 14-percent increase over the previous week as the White House COVID Response accelerates the production and distribution of vaccines.

As Josh Wingrove reports for Bloomberg, however, the B.1.1.7 variant–first detected in the United Kingdom–”is now predominant in five US regions and accounts for a quarter (26 percent) of new cases nationally,” per Rochelle Walensky, the Biden White House’s director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The average number of new cases in the United States in the past seven days is up nearly 12 percent over the previous week, Walensky has announced.

A key vaccination strategy now is to inoculate younger adults who are replacing older, now-vaccinated people in contracting the virus. S0me states are dramatically dropping age barriers to injections this month to support the race to contain new variants. The state of Georgia, for example, now offers vaccinations to anyone aged 16 or older, Florida now is vaccinating those 40 and older, and the state of New York now offers vaccinations to state residents 30 and older as North Carolina prepares to vaccinate all adults beginning April 7.


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Book Industry Charitable Foundation is here, and more on bookselling is here. 

More on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As as an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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