Bestselling author James Patterson has run a number of programs that supply grant-type funding for bookstores, committing significant funds to helping independent retailers keep their doors open. Those grants have served for projects like building in video conferencing capabilities to have virtual author signings in the store, to renovations, to even just paying shop employees during the slow months.
Now, Patterson is taking this same donor support to independent booksellers in the UK in an effort to ensure that people have access to books. According to the New York Times, Patterson has committed 250,000 GBP to providing grants between 250 and 5,000 GBP to struggling shops to encourage literacy and book access, aiming this particular initiative at ensuring children have access to reading material.
Things have truly reached crisis proportions for UK booksellers, and numbers of independent shops have fallen below 1,000 retailers for the first time. Patterson, who has in the past written an open letter to the US government to fund a bailout of the independent book retailer industry, continues to commit his own personal funds to keep stores open, to foster competition in the retailing sector, and to ensure that access to books doesn’t go away with the shuttering of more and more shops and libraries.
Patterson has recently taken to railing against Amazon for its current battles with his publisher, Hachette Book Group, for its refusal to stock titles until the terms of its contracts are agreed upon; the author has pointed out that this disagreement and stall in sales is taking revenue from authors, who will hurt most of all.