A crowdfunder set up by the trade to raise money for booksellers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic has increased its target to £100,000 after Penguin Random House and the Booksellers Association pledged support.
On 23rd March, Gayle Lazda from the London Review Bookshop, Picador commissioning editor Kishani Widyaratna and Daunt Books publisher Zeljka Marosevic launched a £10,000 fundraiser. It hit £7,000 by midday yesterday (25th March) with donations from trade figures and authors including Candice Carty-Williams, Adam Kay, Jessie Burton and Reni Eddo-Lodge.
Now the target has been increased to £100,000 after PRH said it would match every contribution up to £50,000, including the money raised so far. The Booksellers Association had already pledged £30,000 to the Book Trade Charity for bookseller hardship, and will now contribute that funding to this project, in order to co-ordinate and focus all resources in one place.
Funds are available to anyone who works in a bookshop in the UK or Ireland, who finds themselves in hardship as a result of the impact of Covid-19. This includes traditional booksellers alongside staff working behind the scenes in a bookshop, such as cleaners or IT support staff.
Lazda, Marosevic and Widyaratna said, “We’ve been extremely heartened by the response to the fundraiser and we are so grateful to everyone who has donated so far—as well as to everyone who has supported the fundraiser through spreading the word. We’re pleased to be joining forces with Penguin Random House and the BA today in order to raise more money and provide further support to anyone working in high street bookselling who has been affected by this crisis.”
The Book Trade Charity will administer all grants for people based in the UK on a case by case basis, and the Booksellers Association are exploring how this might be administered in Ireland.
Tom Weldon, c.e.o. of PRH UK, said: “In this strange and testing time we need to connect as an industry to support our publishing ecosystem. Bookshops and booksellers are the lifeblood of our industry, and at the heart of local communities across the UK and Ireland. We hope our contribution to this fundraiser helps give them the support they need in the coming weeks and months.”
Meryl Halls, m.d. of the BA, added: “We are heartened by the bubbling up of support for booksellers from across the trade, and really pleased to be able to work with PRH and with Gayle, Zeljka and Kishani to collaborate on making sure we are maximizing the money being collected to help booksellers in hardship. This crisis is testing all our norms and ethical values, and it is really humbling to see this outpouring of support and love for booksellers. We thank PRH, the crowdfunders and the Book Trade Charity on behalf of all our members, and the BA. And we look forward to delivering real help to those who need it most.”
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