Winter Institute Spots Still Open for Booksellers Affected by California Wildfires

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American Booksellers Association member stores that are unable to register for Winter Institute special events due to the California wildfires are invited to contact winterinstitute@bookweb.org by this Friday, November 15, to secure a spot; multiple places have been held open for affected booksellers.

In addition, stores that need help connecting with LIBRIS insurance services or require ABA’s assistance securing extended credit from publishers should contact ABA Senior Membership Manager Daniel O’Brien.

While most of the wildfires that ravaged the state last month are now contained, new blazes continue to pop up in various areas of Northern and Southern California. The Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) continues to urge affected booksellers to reach out for help if they were evacuated from their homes or their bookstores were closed due to fire or the related blackouts.

Binc logo

At the start of the crisis, New York-based literary agency The Book Group offered a $2,000 dollar for dollar match to help affected booksellers, raising $13,000 for Binc through supporter donations. Here are a few other ways the Binc Foundation has been helping those bookstore owners and employees affected by the fires:

  • If a store has to close or business is so slow (due to evacuations, fires, and/or loss of electricity) that a bookseller cannot pay the store rent or utilities, Binc may be able to pay rent and utility expenses on their behalf.
  • If a bookseller/retailer misses 50 percent of scheduled weekly work hours, Binc may be able to help with personal household expenses if this missed income causes financial hardship.
  • If a bookseller/retailer needs to relocate to temporary housing with power for emergency reasons (medical condition, elderly household members, infant, etc.), Binc may be able to help pay for temporary lodging and supplies.

fire CA

Booksellers who have been affected by the California fires and related power outages are invited to e-mail Binc at help@bincfoundation.org or call (866) 733-9064 to talk through possible assistance options with Binc staff. Booksellers who know of colleagues affected by the fires are asked to spread the word about Binc via personal outreach and on social media.

To help all booksellers affected by similar emergencies, severe weather incidents, and/or natural disasters, donate to Binc today. Donors who sign up today to be a monthly sustaining donor will have their donations matched dollar-for-dollar. 

In addition, Simon & Schuster announced on November 7 that it will offer relief assistance to independent bookselling retailers that have been adversely affected by the ongoing wildfires in California. The relief will be issued in the form of extensions on payments for booksellers whose stores have sustained physical damage, or whose business was otherwise negatively impacted, according to the publisher.

“California’s independent booksellers are a vital and important part of their communities,” said Gary Urda, senior vice president of sales at Simon & Schuster. “These fires have caused both physical damage and loss of business to stores, and with this offer we look to assist our bookselling friends as they recover from these devastating circumstances.”

Booksellers are encouraged to reach out to their Simon & Schuster sales representative or customer service representative for more information about how to take advantage of this assistance.