In cases of prolonged or unexpected store closure, independent booksellers are encouraged to keep the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) on speed dial; not only can the nonprofit organization help with immediate business-related expenses, such as repair costs or lost income, but also with more individual expenses like store or home rent and food.
Binc is a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to booksellers experiencing an emergency or hardship, offering a financial leg-up when a natural disaster, illness, or accident, like burst pipes, affects that bookseller’s ability to keep their store open and make a living. “Often the situation that causes the hardship leads to a financial imbalance in the overall household, both personal and professional,” Binc Executive Director Pam French told BTW.
When snow closed her store for five days this past winter, Annie Carl, owner of The Neverending Bookshop in Edmonds, Washington, was thrilled that Binc agreed to pay her store’s rental costs for a full month. Here, Carl writes about her positive experience with Binc:
“In February of this year, Seattle was hit not by one, but two snowstorms. Things were pretty dicey on the roads and sidewalks. I don’t live near my shop (The Neverending Bookshop), and the drive would have been impossible. My little Honda Fit couldn’t make it out of our driveway, let alone down the road. My shop was closed for five stressful days. My shop is what one would consider a micro-bookstore. I’m the only employee, I work six days a week, and my overhead is tiny. Any days missed mean a loss of income to keep the shop going. I reached out to Binc with the idea they might be able to help. I had received a scholarship last year to attend the PNBA trade show, and I knew all about Binc because of that and other encounters with their programs. I was hopeful they could help by covering five days of the shop’s rent. Binc covered the entire month! I was floored! Binc has helped other bookstores survive through natural and man-made disasters, and I was so touched they were able to help my little shop.”
Here are some immediate actions booksellers and others can take to help support the Book Industry Charitable Foundation in its work: Become a sustaining donor today. Contributions to Binc from sustaining donors help at least two booksellers every month of the year.
In addition, booksellers have until the end of today, May 1, to apply for the “Indies With Impact” scholarship. Sponsored by Penguin Random House, the $1,500 grant will help one bookstore create and implement a partnership with a nonprofit organization or other institution in their community.