James Patterson to give $1 million to independent bookstores

James Patterson, who will give $1 million to independent bookstores, at the Venice High School library in 2012.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
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Bestselling author James Patterson wants to support independent bookstores, and he’s putting his money where his heart is. On Monday he pledged to give $1 million to independent bookstores in the next year.

“We’re making this transition to e-books, and that’s fine and good and terrific and wonderful, but we’re not doing it in an organized, sane, civilized way. So what’s happening right now is a lot of bookstores are disappearing,” Patterson told CBS’ “This Morning.”

Patterson says he hopes the funds will support everything from raises for staff who haven’t gotten them in years to larger projects. What’s essential is that the bookstores have a viable business model and that their shops include a children’s section.


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

The perennial bestseller and author of the Alex Cross novels, Patterson has a number of community-focused projects, including scholarships and the readkiddoread project.

While the pledge to give $1 million to bookstores fits with his other efforts to encourage book culture, it also dovetails with another author’s effort to support independent bookstores. National Book Award winner Sherman Alexie pledged to spend a day working as a bookseller in his local independent bookstore. That project is called Indies First; it’s being organized by the American Booksellers Assn. to take place on Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, Patterson is helping out independent bookstores in another way. To go along with the theme of “Treasure Hunters,” his latest book for kids, Patterson has signed five books that, as of Tuesday, will be hidden somewhere at Vroman’s, the independent bookstore in Pasadena.


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