Parnassus to Auction Author-Decorated Piggy Banks to Benefit Booksellers

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This Sunday, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, will kick off its Bank on Booksellers auction of more than 100 piggy banks decorated by authors, illustrators, and celebrities to raise money to offset the medical costs of a Parnassus employee who has cancer and to benefit the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc).

Stephanie Appell with piggy banks
Parnassus' Stephanie Appell with some of the piggy banks up for bid.

When Stephanie Appell, the store’s manager of books for young readers and the ParnassusNext subscription program, was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in April, Parnassus staff stepped in to help the 29-year-old, who is facing months of chemo, surgery, recovery, as well as massive medical bills. Author Ann Patchett, who co-owns the store with Karen Hayes, joined Parnassus events director Niki Coffman in asking authors to decorate piggy banks that could be auctioned off to raise money for Appell.

As word spread from author to author, all manner of custom-designed piggy banks began to arrive in the mail from destinations across the country. The list of more than 100 authors, illustrators, and celebrities who have contributed an original piggy includes John Green, Barbara Kingsolver, Brad Paisley, Connie Britton, Veronica Roth, Maria Semple, RJ Palacio, Emma Straub, and Jeff Kinney.

Three piggy banks“We cast our piggy banks upon the water and what came back to us was more fabulous than anything we could have ever imagined,” said Patchett. Due to this unexpected windfall from generous authors, the store decided to donate a portion of the funds raised to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to providing financial assistance for booksellers in crisis for the past 20 years. In August, Patchett was chosen along with fellow author James Patterson to serve as Binc’s first co-ambassadors.

“Whether you’re one of ours or you’re a bookseller somewhere else, we think it’s our place to help,” said Patchett. “I couldn’t be more delighted that all these authors and illustrators agree. Book people are the best people.”

The Bank on Booksellers auction opens for online bids starting Sunday, September 25, at 6:30 p.m. via BiddingOwl. A public party to kick off the auction will be held the same day at the store in Nashville. Bidding will close at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, September 30. Booksellers and others are encouraged to spread the word through social media using the tag #BankOnBooksellers and, as always, donations can made to Binc directly.