S&S pledges help for libraries and retailers struck by Hurricane Harvey

S&S pledges help for libraries and retailers struck by Hurricane Harvey

Simon & Schuster US has pledged to help libraries and retailers hit by the flooding from 'catastrophic' Hurricane Harvey.

The company’s education and library marketing department is offering assistance to any Texas public or school library which has suffered damage with a donation of 250 ‘Best of’ titles.

The publisher will provide multiple copies of 20 new releases and bestsellers to retailers attract customers “as they restore their businesses to normal operating conditions”. S&S US suggested that those in need of more immediate support should contact the Book Industry Charitable (BINC) Foundation at help@bincfoundation.org.

The publisher also “stands ready” to work with national and local non-profits such as First Book and the Red Cross to provide books for children and adults displaced by Hurricane Harvey, including those in shelters across Texas, it said. 

Harvey was the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years when it made landfall on Friday (25th August) near Corpus Christi, 220 miles (354km) south-west of Houston. It brought 30 inches of rain into the city of Houston “turning roads into rivers” according to  BBC, with US President Donald Trump warning it would be a “very expensive situation”. More than 3,000 people have been rescued in and around Houston and at least nine people are reported to have died in incidents relating to the storm.

“When public or school libraries sustain devastating loss, the entire community suffers” said Michelle Leo, v.p and director of education & Library Marketing, Simon & Schuster. “Our book donation program is intended to help affected libraries get back on their feet, and we look forward to working with our longtime friends in libraries across Texas, as well as other local and national organizations to help facilitate a speedy recovery for these vital cornerstones of Texas communities.”

Michael Selleck, executive v.p of sales and marketing, added: “For retailers, floods of the order caused by Hurricane Harvey can result in loss of inventory, damage to physical space, and a severe reduction in traffic. With this offering we look to help our bookselling friends stock in-demand titles and re-build their customer base after the flooding clears."

The slow-moving storm - currently over the Gulf of Mexico - is expected to continue to dump huge amounts of rain in the coming days over already flood-hit areas.

Houston-based bookshop Brazos is currently closed "for the safety of our staff and customers" but has pledged to donate 20% of all sales until Sunday to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund including all online orders. 

Many other outlets are showing support through raising cash for victims of the tragedy. Point Reyes Books in California is donating 20% of sales through the week to the Houston Food Bank according to Publishers Weekly. Coffee House Press in Minneapolis is pledging the same to Hurricane Harvey relief while Scholastic US reportedly made a $25,000 donation to the Red Cross and has committed to helping schools buy books. The Manhattan-based Book Group literary agency will match all donations to the Houston Food Bank up until $2,000.

Some stores reopened to help residents affected by the flooding. Murder by the Book in the West University neighborhood re-opened on Monday and was offering coffee, access to bathrooms and power outlets according to Publishers Weekly. Kaboom Books in the Heights neighborhood of Houston also opened for several hours on Sunday and Monday to "show that life goes on".

Teacher Kathryn Butler Mills organised the 'Hurricane Harvey Book Club' asking children to record videos of themselves reading aloud to share with young people without access to books due to the floods, according to Today.com. Within two days the virtual book club had 7,000 members and more than 300 videos. 

Schools and libraries that needing assistance should email education.library@simonandschuster.com.