James Patterson delivers cash to independent bookstores

Fiction writer James Patterson, here at a recent visit to Venice High School, has begun distributing $1 million that he's promised to independent bookstores and reading programs.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

This week, novelist James Patterson started doing something many an author has secretly dreamed of doing: he’s giving back to the bookstores that made it possible for him to be an author in the first place.

Making good on a promise he made last fall to give $1 million to independent bookstores, Patterson announced Wednesday that he’s sent out the first batch of the checks. Fifty-five bookstores across the United States will receive grants totaling $267,000.

“Every day, booksellers are out there saving our country’s literature,” Patterson said in a news release. “The work they do to support schools and the rest of their communities leaves a lasting love of reading in children and adults.... What are we if we don’t have our own literature? I couldn’t be happier to, very humbly, support booksellers in their mission.”


The grants range from $2,000 to $15,000. Publishers Weekly reported that Patterson, “a micromanager,” read through every one of the grant letters and formal proposals and personally approved each one.

One of the recipients, Book Revue of Huntington in Long Island, N.Y., asked Patterson for financial help after a “near apocalyptic winter.” Co-owner Bob Klein wrote that, “We will use the money to keep valuable employees, pay our property tax, and do much needed repairs to our floor and roof.”

Other recipients include Hicklebee’s of San Jose, BookPeople in Austin, Tex.; Books & Books in Coral Gables, Fla.; Children’s Book World in Los Angeles and Book Passage in Corte Madera, Calif.

The author of a series of mysteries and thrillers, Patterson is one of the world’s bestselling authors. He said the remaining $750,000 in grants will be distributed in stages later this year.

Patterson encouraged more booksellers to apply. “It’s as easy as putting on half a page of paper what you need to do,” he told Publishers Weekly in an interview. “It’s not like applying to Harvard. It’s not difficult, and there’s no catch. We want to be inundated.”

One of the few qualifications for applying bookstores is that they have a children’s section.


People interested in learning more can fill out a form on Patterson’s website.


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