James Patterson helps flooded UK bookshops

James Patterson helps flooded UK bookshops

Flooded bookshops The Book Case in Hebden Bridge and The New Bookshop in Cockermouth are to receive a £5,000 grant each from the James Patterson fund.

James Patterson donated half a million pounds to independents last year, £250,000 of which was added to the fund in April 2015. The fund has been used to date to help booksellers on reburbishment initiatives and reading projects.  

Storm Desmond wreaked havoc in early December flooding The New Bookshop and leaving more than 2,500 homes in Cumbria without power. Meanwhile the uninsurable Book Case, which had suffered during the 2012 floods, was destroyed by major flooding in the Calder Valley on Boxing Day. With water levels rising to 5ft - 2ft higher than any resilience measures had provided for - the store was "completely wiped out".

Merryl Hall at the Booksellers Association, who helped to facilitate the grants, said the money would be used "to help with their refurbishment, and get their kids sections back up and running and looking better than ever". She said: "I know there has been a lot of support flowing towards the shops, and let’s hope it continues – there’s not a much worse combination than books and water, and we really admire the resilience of both bookshops, who are planning to refurbish and reopen despite the devastation they’ve suffered."

Breaking the "fantastic news" on The Book Case's Facebook page, owner Kate Claughan thanked all the "wet book shovellers" who had helped in the aftermath, as well as organiser Halls at the BA, James Patterson's grant fund for expediting the payment, along with "great man" Patterson himself.

Claughan added she was "overwhelmed" by the support shown by the trade, which had made her feel "part of a real community".

Crime-writing duo Carol and Bob Bridgestock (pen name RC Bridgestock), in collaboration with HarperCollin's Sam Missingham, made "a huge difference" by lobbying authors to "rescue" the shop through book donations. Working together, they secured signed books from the likes of Marian Keyes, Ian Rankin and EL James to raise thousands of pounds at auction on eBay. Jon Ronson’s Lost at Sea (Picador) alone brought in £520 and a signed first edition of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black (Vintage) went for £270. 

Claughan said: "The fact that so many people, from all areas of the book trade, have rallied round to help us means so much. I admit that in the past, reading some of the articles in The Bookseller for example, I’ve not really felt connected to the more corporate world of publishing. In fact as a small northern bookseller I’ve sometimes felt invisible in the industry.

"The last week it has felt genuinely felt that we are part of a real community, that publishers do care about independent bookshops and understand their value. We are important; to the book trade, to authors, readers and to the wider communities we exist in. The amazing support we have had is a huge reminder of this and made us even more determined to survive this."

The Book Case thanked the following companies for their support:  Thames and Hudson; Rough Trade; Tangerine Press; Galley Beggar; Faber; Phaidon; Bluemoose; Bloomsbury; Quercus; David Fickling Books; Amberley; Country Publications; Dean Street Press; Carcanet; Chicken House; Anderson Press; Longbarrow Press; Canongate; Independent Alliance; River Ocean; Summersdale; Yale; Head of Zeus; Wrecking Ball Press; Macmillan; and 4th Estate.