While the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) is always offering assistance to booksellers in need, the organization has stepped up amidst the coronavirus outbreak to give a total of $50,000 in funds during the week of March 23. Binc Executive Director Pamela French and Director of Development Kathy Bartson told Bookselling This Week that by the end of next week, Binc projects a total of $100,000 in funds to be distributed to booksellers.
As of Monday, March 30, Binc received 416 applications for financial assistance, which amounts to about three to four years’ worth of applications. “What we have the ability to do, and what we’ve always done well, is getting financial assistance to booksellers quickly,” said Bartson. French noted that while the process has slowed down a bit because of the increased volume, applications are still being processed efficiently.
“What the financial assistance is primarily helping with right now, and this is just the current need, is rent and mortgage payments,” said Bartson. “With April coming right upon us, the biggest concern and worry booksellers have is stabilizing their housing. We’re preventing them from being homeless.”
Bartson added that what’s been both remarkable and humbling during this time is the fact that the industry as a whole has recognized Binc’s importance as the organization that helps booksellers. “Folks are coming to help us help the booksellers,” she said. “It’s an affirmation that we are the book industry’s safety net.”
“The outreach that we’ve received in the last two weeks across the industry, from companies who support booksellers by selling sidelines to authors to individuals coming forward with their support because they love booksellers and their bookstores and they don’t want to see them go away, gives us the power and the energy to make sure that we touch base with all 416 of these applicants,” Bartson noted. “And we know that number’s going to grow.”
Key players in getting the momentum going, French and Bartson noted, have been Steven Malk of Writers House, Beacon Press, Abrams, Amor Towles, Garth Stein, and more.
“We’re incredibly grateful and humbled that we have the resources to be able to innovate quickly and get checks to booksellers this past week,” said French, “and we’re excited because the checks are being cashed. That’s the part this week that’s been so gratifying. We’re able to get the checks to the people who need them.”
To help Binc in its efforts, the American Booksellers Association recently donated $100,000 toward bookseller relief.
Learn more about how to donate to Binc here.