James Patterson Donates To Bookstores. What Does This Mean For Their Future?

MIJAS, SPAIN - MARCH 18: Su Jones, a volunteer of the Age Care Association, hangs a picture on a wall as she works in a secondhand bookshop at the residential area 'Sitio de Calahonda' on March 18, 2016 in Mijas, Spain. Age Care Association has been helping to English speaking people for more than 15 years. Spain is Europe's top destination for British expats with the southern regions of Costa del Sol and Alicante being the most popular places to live. The EU Referendum will be held on June 23, 2016 and only those who have lived abroad for less than 15 years will be able to vote. Some in the British expat communities in Spain are worried about that Brexit would see changes made to their benefits. The latest reports released by the UK Cabinet Office warn that expats would lose a range of specific rights to live, to work and to access pensions, healthcare and public services. The same reports added that UK citizens abroad would not be able to assume that these rights will be guaranteed in the future. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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Bestselling author James Patterson announced Tuesday that he will donate $1 million to independent bookstores — news that is both exciting, and, if you sit and think about it for a sec, a bit worrying for indie bookstore lovers like me (and probably you). 

The past two decades have been tough for independent bookstores. In the 1990s, mega-store Barnes & Noble gave them Goliath-sized competition with its huge selection and discounted rates. Then, the rise of Amazon, with its online convenience and cheap prices, dealt neighborhood booksellers another blow. And in the past few years, e-books' ascendency has only accelerated the trend of buying books elsewhere.

Those independent bookstores still remaining have resorted to crowdfunding in order to keep their doors open, according to a New York Times article published last month. For example, San Francisco's Adobe Books and Manhattan's Books of Wonder both used online campaigns to raise $60,000 and $50,000, respectively. 

Patterson's generosity is good for bookstores, therefore, because they clearly need it. However, it's also a saddening sign of the times if an author, someone who makes money from bookstores sales, hypothetically, needs to pour his money back into them. 

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