September 17, 2013

James Patterson to donate $1 million to indie bookstores


James Patterson

Bestselling author James Patterson announced on CBS This Morning yesterday that he plans to donate $1 million of his own money to independent bookstores around the country. He was on the show to discuss his new children’s book, Treasure Hunters, and to talk about his efforts to improve literacy.

Speaking with co-hosts Charlie Rose, Norah O’Donnell, and Gayle King, Patterson placed most of the responsibility for getting kids interested in reading on their parents. “Parents have to step up,” he said, “You can be your kids’ friend, but you’ve got to be their parent, and they have to read at home. The end.” He discussed the importance of setting aside time to read every day, and to go to libraries and bookstores to find new books.

In order to support the latter, he’s announced a plan to give away $1 million to indie booksellers, as long as they meet two criteria—that the stores be “viable,” presumably financially, and that they have a children’s section. Patterson lamented the decline of indies, saying:

We’re making this transition to ebooks 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, a lot of libraries are disappearing or they’re not being funded, school libraries aren’t being funded as well. This is not a good thing. It used to be you could find books everywhere. You go to Sweden, Sweden has 8 million people, a book will sell a million copies there.

When pressed a bit by O’Donnell about what a million dollars would really accomplish for the industry, Patterson acknowledged that his plan won’t exactly save indies on its own. But he does hope that it will be a start, a shot in the arm in the form of some extra cash for hard-working booksellers. You can see the full CBS interview below.



Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.