James Patterson might be best known for writing bestselling thrillers, but he's been doing a lot this year besides writing, including making quite a few donations to independent bookstores. In fact, after his latest round of giving, Patterson has now donated more than $1 million to a total of 178 independent bookstores across the country. Happy Holidays, indeed!
Patterson decided to support independent bookstores out of concern for the state of literacy in American, in addition to worry that in the not so distant future millions of children "will never grow up with a local bookstore, library, or access to real books," according to a press release. All of the bookstores to which Patterson has donated have children's sections.
His first round of grants totaled $267,000, divided between 55 stores, with his second totaling $268,000 distributed between 48 stores. In this latest, holiday round Patterson's generosity amounted $473,000, which will now be enjoyed by 81 stores from around the country, bringing his total donations this year to more than $1 million.
But supporting independent bookstores isn't the only thing that Patterson's been up to in 2014. In addition to releasing a new book in his famous Alex Cross series, he was also outspoken against Amazon during the online retailer's feud with Hachette. He spoke out against Amazon's tactics at Book Expo America and signed onto the letter that the group Authors United published in the New York Times speaking out against Amazon during the height of the Amazon/Hachette feud.
So all in all, it seems like Patterson has been quite the force for good in the books world this year.
Of course, as admirable as Patterson's generosity is, it's more than a little worrying to think that we could soon be living in a world where the only thing keeping independent bookstores open is the generosity of big names in the literary community. Which is why you should all once again make a New Year's resolution to shop at your local indie rather than Amazon or Barnes and Noble. But as long as the world continues to be an uncertain place, it's good to know that someone like Patterson is out there fighting the good fight.
Next year Patterson plans to continue his support of books by focusing on libraries and on initiatives to get kids reading. All of which sounds great. So maybe 2015 will be pretty cool, too.