This year, author James Patterson has pledged $250,000 to provide independent bookstore employees with a little extra holiday cash. The 2018 Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program is open through September 30 to all U.S. independent bookstore employees.
Patterson will select winners from bookstores across the country and, for the fifth consecutive year, partner with the American Booksellers Association to distribute the funding, to be granted in amounts of $750 to $1,500 to individual booksellers. The grant application asks one question: “Why does this bookseller deserve a holiday bonus?”
All past recipients of Patterson grants are eligible for this year’s bonus, and booksellers can self-nominate. One of last year’s winners, Maryelizabeth Yturralde, co-founder and events manager of Mysterious Galaxy Books in San Diego, California, told Bookselling This Week she was extremely flattered when she learned Patterson had chosen her.
“When I received the notification that I had been selected as one of the recipients of James Patterson’s generous support of independent booksellers, I was incredibly touched that someone felt my work was worthy of this recognition,” Yturralde said. “Receiving the bonus was certainly lovely as well — it went a long way towards covering gift books for friends and family members for the holiday season (doubling as an investment in Mysterious Galaxy) — but the lasting impression was the thrill that someone thought enough of my bookselling to nominate me for consideration.”
In 2017, Patterson donated a record $350,000 to bookstore employees; in 2016, $250,000 to 149 independent bookstore employees across the country; and in 2015, $250,000 to 87 recipients. In 2014, he awarded $1 million in grants to 178 independent bookstores. Over the past decade, Patterson has also given away more than a million books to students all over the United States and visited hundreds of schools to advocate for youth literacy.