By Stacy Kess
Independent book sellers are fighting to maintain a presence in communities and serve readers — and author James Patterson is helping them to fight.
Delaware book children’s book store Fundamentals, 25 W Winter St., was the recipient of a $5,000 grant from Patterson’s pledge to give $1 million of his money to viable independent book stores with a children’s section.
“This was a very pleasant surprise,” said Fundamental’s owner Tami Furlong.
Furlong said she didn’t apply for the first round of grants, which were awarded in February to more than 50 booksellers around the nation. She thought her store was too small.
When she saw the first round recipients of grants, she applied for the second round of 2014 grants.
Patterson spread the word through his website, publishers, other authors and booksellers. He asked that the stores correspond with him to give ideas of how they would spend the grant money “to make a difference in local communities.”
“This past winters been really tough on the business and building,” Furlong said.
When she began planning for the summer, the building needed some repairs and she was finding it more difficult to fund the programs she had offered to children in previous summers, including book clubs, reading clubs and art classes.
“With this grant, I’ll be able to do my summer activities,” she said. “I just didn’t have the money to do some of that.”
Furlong said she is grateful to Patterson for supporting independent book stores that compete with online sellers for business.
“We’ve got a lot of authors speaking out, which pulls more weight than if I or another small book store complains (about the struggle of independent book stores),” she said. “(Patterson is) just very very supportive.”
According to his application Web site, Patterson said he plans to issue award grants throughout the second half of 2014 and is still considering how to continue his work with independent book stores next year.
Reporter Stacy Kess can be found on Twitter @StacyMKess.