Earlier this year, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) conducted its third industry-wide survey, which garnered a record total of 696 respondents representing a wide cross-section of the bookselling industry.
The overall goals for the survey were to gather information on booksellers’ current level of awareness of the foundation’s services, to rate program performance and relevance, and to solicit suggestions for new programs.
“Binc is here to serve booksellers, and with the feedback we received from booksellers and industry professionals through this survey, we are better equipped to act on our mission — which is providing a financial safety net for bookstore employees,” said Binc Executive Director Pam French. “We cannot overstate how much we value the feedback we receive, and we have been heartened to learn that awareness of our financial assistance programs continues to grow and that the Foundation is more valued than ever before. But the survey also shows there is still work for us to do.”
Key findings from the 2019 survey are detailed below.
- Awareness of Binc and the services the foundation provides to booksellers continues its trajectory of growth across the industry. Only 16% of survey respondents were “not at all familiar with Binc” this year, compared with 28% of respondents in 2016, and 38% in 2014.
- Binc is more valued today than in previous years when the survey was conducted.
- Fellow booksellers and colleagues, Shelf Awareness, and the regional trade associations are the leading ways booksellers find out about Binc’s financial assistance services and scholarship opportunities.
- Self-reported need for financial assistance is 1 in 5 respondents, with 22% of respondents stating they had an emergency financial need in the last two years.
- Despite growth, less than half of booksellers who identified as needing assistance are applying to Binc.
- Booksellers who don’t apply are incorrectly assuming that their need is not great enough or their situation would not qualify.
- 100% of respondents who received assistance from Binc had a positive experience.
- 67% of survey respondents were frontline booksellers, managers, and bookstore owners.
- Shelf Awareness, Publishers Weekly, and Bookselling This Week were the top resources respondents relied on for general news about the bookselling industry.
Donations & Donors:
- The biggest barrier to donating was that respondents didn’t have extra money after their bills are paid.
- 1 out of 3 respondents had supported the Foundation at some time.
- 91% of those who donated reported that financial assistance was the most important program to them (compared with scholarships and professional development).
Learn more about the Book Industry Charitable Foundation and donate here. So far this year, Binc has seen a 38% increase in year-over-year approved grants as the need amongst booksellers and awareness of the foundation’s services continue to grow.