Bookseller Relief Efforts Continue

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As news stories about the death, suffering, and destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina are replaced by accounts of the early steps the public and private sectors are taking toward reconstruction, the book industry, too, continued its initiatives to assist Gulf Coast residents affected by the storm.

In the two weeks since it announced the establishment of the Booksellers Relief Fund, ABA has continued to receive donations from booksellers and others in the industry. The fund -- which ABA seeded with an opening donation of $25,000 -- will be used to meet the needs of all booksellers who are facing critical problems with such basics as food, housing, and transportation.

Among the early donations are pledges from the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association (MPBA), the New England Booksellers Association (NEBA), and the Southern California Booksellers Association (SCBA). The MPBA Board of Directors and Advisory Council notified its members that the association will match the first $2,000 of member donations to the Booksellers Relief Fund (and the first $2,000 of donations to the Red Cross). NEBA urged its members to go to the ABA booth at this week's NEBA trade show to make a donation and said that NEBA will match up to $2,500 of donations received. SCBA has noted it is collecting donations, and that the association's Holiday Catalog books and SCBA Book Awards Finalist display books will be auctioned for a Katrina fund.

To oversee the fund, ABA President Mitchell Kaplan of Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida, has asked former ABA presidents to serve on the Booksellers Relief Fund's board of directors. As BTW went to press, former presidents Ann Christophersen, Neal Coonerty, Richard Howorth, Avin Mark Domnitz (ABA's CEO), Chuck Robinson, Joyce Meskis, Ed Morrow, J. Rhett Jackson, and Gail See had all already agreed to join the fund's board.

ABA is encouraging others in the book industry, including its Book Sense Publisher Partners, to contribute to the fund. Contributions to the fund will also be collected at the upcoming regional booksellers association trade shows.

Checks should be made payable to the Bookseller Relief Fund and sent to ABA's office at 200 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown, NY 10591. Please write "Bookseller Relief" on the outside of the envelope.

Booksellers who would like to apply for relief from the fund are encouraged to contact ABA's director of special projects, David Walker, at [email protected] or (800) 637-0037, ext. 6612.

For more on hurricane relief efforts, go to