James Patterson has extended his support of indies to Australia and New Zealand, offering bookshops $5,000 each from a pool of $100,000 to spend on initiatives to get children reading.
Now Patterson is pledging $100,000 to help indie booksellers in Australia and New Zealand, as long as the money is spent on something which will encourage children to read. The author is willing to give away the cash because he is concerned there are far too many children at risk of “living their lives without books” and believes this could descend into “a world run by the self-centred, the short-sighted and the glib. The apathetic and the narrow-minded.”
He said: “There is no doubt in my mind that bookshops play an essential role in the community in getting kids reading. I have been inspired, moved and delighted by the innovative proposals I have received from bookstores in the UK and the US. And I have been thrilled to see the real difference that these grants have already started to make. I can’t wait to see the proposals from Australian and New Zealand bookstores.”
Joel Becker, c.e.o of the Australian Booksellers Association, said: “We are thrilled by James Patterson’s extraordinary generosity in supporting Australian booksellers in promoting kids’ books. This is great news for an industry that is already seeing significant growth in sales for younger readers. Along with James, we celebrate the role that bookshops have in communities throughout Australia.”
Patterson said that so many bookstores are already making a difference in their communities and he was looking to helping other which want to do more.
“I’m open to all sorts of ideas,” he said. “From an after-school bookclub, to an emailed newsletter. From a spot bonus to a valued employee, to funds to create a storytelling tent. Send me your ideas and I will read them.”
To apply for the grant, booksellers must already have a dedicated children’s book section in their store. They have until 5pm Tuesday 30th June to apply for the grant.