Bookselling Without Borders has launched its latest crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise $20,000 for the 2019 edition of the program, which offers scholarships to American booksellers and bookstore owners at all stages of their careers to attend the top international book fairs.
Each year, Bookselling Without Borders (BWB) is supported by independent publishers, industry partners, and a crowdfunding campaign; this time around, 12 independent publishers and university presses are joining together to promote the program. Independent publisher Europa Editions created BWB in 2016 to provide one bookseller with a fellowship to the Frankfurt Book Fair, and since then, Bookselling Without Borders has grown into a unique opportunity for booksellers to become better informed, better connected, and better equipped to bring international and diverse books to American readers.
This year, Bookselling Without Borders aims to do even more to foster a diverse literary landscape and encourage booksellers to introduce readers to international authors, especially because, according to the program, “At a time when diverse perspectives are more important than ever, access to international voices becomes essential.” In 2019, Bookselling Without Borders will offer more fellowships than ever before — 16 fellowships to four international book fairs — and, for the first time, two international bookstore residencies, in Italy and India. In addition, alumni of the program will be helping to develop a database of contacts and resources to be shared with all booksellers.
Funding from this year’s campaign on Kickstarter, which kicked off Monday, September 24, and runs through Thursday, October 25, will also be used to expand Bookselling Without Borders’ activities to include more fairs and fellowships, and to launch the new international residency program.
In 2018, fellowship awardees have already attended the Turin Book Fair and more will soon be leaving for both the Frankfurt and Guadalajara Book Fairs. At these fairs, booksellers take part in presentations, panel discussions, and seminars; visit local bookstores to meet managers and booksellers; tour local literary organizations; meet publishers, editors, authors, agents, and trade association representatives from around the world; and spend time exchanging ideas with each other.
“Bookselling Without Borders is internationalizing and diversifying the culture of reading in the U.S. by creating bridges between American booksellers and the international book trade,” said Europa Editions Editor-in-Chief Michael Reynolds. “In 2019, the program hopes to support travel for more booksellers than ever to more international book fairs. It will also begin to mine the experiences of booksellers who have been on the fellowships to create resources for all booksellers who want to do more with international and diverse voices in their stores. Half of the program’s operating budget is provided by crowdfunding, so a successful campaign is key to achieving the goals of Bookselling Without Borders in 2019.”
The project on Kickstarter will introduce new rewards each week for different funding levels. So far, prizes include: for a donation of $15, a postcard sent from the booksellers participating in next year’s program; for $295, a group tour of Princeton University led by the director of Princeton University Press; and, at the highest level of funding, at $2,800, a chance to join the four BWB booksellers attending this year’s Guadalajara Book Fair in November.
This year, the publishers and industry partners supporting Bookselling Without Borders are Catapult, Europa Editions, Graywolf Press, Grove Atlantic, Melville House Books, Milkweed Editions, Other Press, Princeton University Press, Rutgers University Press, Seagull Books, Shambhala Publications, and The University of Chicago Press. Supporters also include three industry partners — Ingram Content Group, Shelf Awareness, and the Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurter Buchmesse) — and 22 ABA member bookstores that are cooperating with the campaign:
- Book Culture, New York, New York
- Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, New York
- Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Texas
- Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Massachusetts
- Busboys and Poets, Washington, D.C.
- Casa Camino Real, Las Cruces, New Mexico
- Changing Hands Bookstore, Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona
- Common Good Books, St. Paul, Minnesota
- Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Washington
- Inkwood Books, Tampa, Florida
- Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Missouri
- Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Georgia
- Magers and Quinn, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Milkweed Books, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Papercuts J.P., Boston, Massachusetts
- Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Iowa
- Riffraff, Providence, Rhode Island
- Seminary Co-op Bookstore, Chicago, Illinois
- Skylight Books, Los Angeles, California
- Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi
- Warwick’s, La Jolla, California
Booksellers who are looking for more information about the program are invited to visit the Bookselling Without Borders website or to contact Steve Kroeter at (718) 636-1345 or Rachael Small at (212) 868-6844.