Indie Bookstores Welcome College Book Bucks Winners

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More than 100 independent bookstores are receiving funds from author James Patterson’s College Book Bucks program, which awards college-bound high school seniors with gift certificates ranging from $250 to $1,000 to be spent at an IndieBound-affiliated bookstore of their choice.

To win the prizes, students submitted essays about favorite books that have inspired them to create meaningful goals in life. Five first place prizes of $1,000 were awarded, as well as five second place prizes of $500 and 100 third place prizes of $250. The winning essays for the top prizes can be read on the College Book Bucks page on Patterson’s website.

“For the third year running, we had some very, very talented young men and women apply, and a very diverse group of books that they quoted as inspiration — from The Dinosaur Heresies to Gravity’s Rainbow,” said Patterson. “I know they’ll enjoy the indie bookstores they’ve chosen, and learn about some great new books from their booksellers.”

Bookstores receiving College Book Bucks are excited to have been selected by these young readers and are looking forward to getting to know them.

“Being chosen is very special,” said Beth Hamilton, book buyer for Portland State Bookstore, which was selected by second-place winner Molly Masters-Schiller. “As an independent, it’s great that we would have the support, especially from a young person.

“It’s great that Mr. Patterson is helping young people as well,” Hamilton added. “It’s such a win-win.”

Staff at The Book Beat in Oak Park, Michigan, has already had the opportunity to meet their first-prize winner, Jack Bernardi. “I’m so happy he chose us,” said store co-owner Colleen Kammer, adding that Bernardi had come in to pick out a selection of literary titles. “They chose a really industrious and intelligent person. I’m very happy for him,” she said.

Dorothea von Moltke, co-owner of Labyrinth Books, is very pleased that the Princeton, New Jersey, indie was chosen by Whitney Sha, another first place winner.

“I’m hoping that, over the course of her years here in Princeton, having the money will help Whitney connect with the store,” Moltke said. “We’re always really eager when we see these students come in. We always try to make some connection with them so that they see an independent bookstore as a resource to them more generally. They’ll graduate and know wherever they go next, they have to find the best café and the independent bookstore.”

Entries from high school seniors for the 2014 College Book Bucks program will be accepted beginning in January.