“Our bookstores in America are at risk. Publishing and publishers as we’ve known them are at stake. To some extent the future of American literature is at stake.” — James Patterson
It’s easy to love your local independent bookseller, with their spot-on personalized recommendations, marvelous event calendar, and delicious cafe goodies, but more and more of us are choosing to do at least some of our reading in ebook form. It’s been part of Zola Books’ mission since our founding in 2011 to find a way to keep the independent bookstore spirit in everything we do. We’re happy to say that James Patterson, arguably one of the most high-profile people in the entire book world, is also dedicated to supporting and preserving our country’s independent bookstores.
Not only that, but he’s committed in a very big way, donating $1 million to independent booksellers across the country. His first batch of grants — $267,000 worth — went out this week. A number of grant recipients are part of the growing network of Zola bookstores, to whom you can dedicate a significant portion of each ebook purchase price by clicking on the red IndiePledge pennant on their profile page on Zola.
Julie Wernersbach, from BookPeople in Austin, TX, says, “The positive news calls attention to the strengthening support independent bookselling is seeing nationwide. Patterson’s efforts not only encourage even more readers to support their local indie bookstores, it’s given us the opportunity to lay out exactly the sorts of programs and improvements that ‘support’ really creates.”
Patterson is specifically interested in promoting reading to young people, the next generation of readers. Porter Square Books, in Cambridge, MA, will use their grant to support children’s author visits to schools, and underwrite the cost of books for children who do not have the means to buy them.
According to Josh Cook from Porter Square, “People are beginning to realize that bookstores are more to their communities than just places to buy books; they are centers of culture and community, they are driving forces in local economies, and they are a sources and outlets for art, information, and thought. Maybe it was the demise of Borders or the Shop Local movement or the efforts of authors like Ann Patchett and James Patterson, but the idea that there is more than just bestsellers and full storefronts at stake is finally catching on.”
Jessica DeLoy and Susan Loftus, speaking for The Bookies in Denver, CO, also note that it’s not just about any one store, but independent bookstores as a whole across the country. “Patterson is reminding indies that we’re part of an important nationwide network. Even though we’re all independents, we don’t stand alone. Patterson has put us in the spotlight and rallied us as a group to find ways to stay in business.”
We’re thrilled to have each of these recipients as part of our network of Zola bookstores, along with Book Passage in San Francisco, CA, Brazos Bookstore in Houston, TX, Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, CA, and Children’s Book World in Haverford, PA. You can show your own support for each of those stores — and many more — when you buy your ebooks through Zola Books. Find out more here.