Throughout the institute, booksellers can donate to the foundation by buying festive, flashing pins for the opportunity to win $500. In the days leading up to the game, Albuquerque-themed pins in the shape of hot air balloons and chili peppers will be sold at Binc’s table at the Consultation Station and by volunteers; both cash and credit cards will be accepted. A $20 donation gets the participant one flashing pin, which allows the purchaser one chance to play and win, and $35 gets two pins, which equals two chances to win the grand prize.
As with previous fundraisers held at ABA events, all proceeds will go to Binc to benefit booksellers in need. “Heads or Tails” will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, January 25, during the Wi14 closing reception and author signing.
When the game starts, all of the people who bought a pin stand, and when the coin is flipped, each person indicates their guess by placing their hands on their “head” (head) or “tail” (backside). Each flip eliminates the wrong guessers, and these people immediately sit down. The last person standing wins the $500 prize.
At Winter Institute 2018 in Memphis, the game raised $7,676 for Binc, and at Children’s Institute 2018 in New Orleans, the game raised $1,116.
Binc recently shared a moving testimonial with Bookselling This Week written by Jamie Anderson, owner of Downtown Books in Manteo, North Carolina, and Duck’s Cottage, in Duck, North Carolina. In her piece, Anderson salutes previous Heads or Tails participants along with everyone who has donated to the foundation over the years. She dedicated the message “to my tribe — to everyone who has ever bought a flashing button at a regional show, or who, feeling flush, sent a small check, or maybe you are a regular sustainer, whether you have given $10 or $100 to Binc.”
This past fall, Anderson writes, Downtown Books got hit with “a double whammy,” as she called it, first with Hurricane Florence, for which the store closed for five days despite the weather remaining fine, and then for Hurricane Michael. That time, she explained, the hurricane’s “remnants hit us way harder than anticipated, catching us completely unprepared in the middle of the night with a storm surge of two feet of water in the store. We lost $11,000 worth of inventory (wholesale).”
After depreciation and deductibles, insurance still only covered about 65 percent of the loss. “We were open with the help of our incredible community within 36 hours. But we lost a lot of inventory and had to start replacing some immediately. That on top of the hit from Florence put us in a position where we were just getting everything paid, but our nose was barely above water and I was already dipping into savings that get me through the winter,” she said.
“Binc reached out the day after Michael to see how they could help,” Anderson continued. Executive Director Pam French sent the application for store assistance, which Anderson deliberated over while tapping into savings, and finally had a phone call with Programs Manager Kit Steinaway, who said she should fill it out because there were so many ways Binc could help.
“Within 24 hours, Kit called to report that Binc was stepping in to assist with several months of rent payments,” said Anderson. “What a godsend. It was like I could breathe again. Binc truly is, in the words of Pam French, a safety net for our tribe. Our amazing book family. As she said, ‘This time you need the safety net, next time it will be someone else.’ How lucky are we to have this incredible resource? I just found out. And again, I thank each and every one of you who have contributed to this fund for contributing to my safety net. Don’t ever hesitate to pick up the phone after an unexpected whammy and call them. They want to help. They are there to help and they can help.”
As awareness of Binc’s services for booksellers continues to grow within the book industry, more and more booksellers are learning that Binc can help with all sorts of emergencies, including unexpected medical expenses, loss of household income, and elder care expenses. Booksellers who are in need of emergency assistance from Binc or who have questions about the “Heads or Tails” game can contact the foundation at (866) 733-9064 or [email protected].