We Need Your Help in Shaping the Future of the Foundation

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In 2014, Binc conducted a bookseller survey of the book industry and found that bookstore employees needed more and different services that we had previously offered. In response to that survey, we added a Matching Grants program as well as Homelessness Prevention and Utility Shut-off Prevention programs. Financial grants from those programs have helped many booksellers to stabilize their households and move forward knowing there is a safety net in place for them. So far in 2016, seven booksellers have benefitted from Matching Grants.

A Second Bookseller Survey

 
With the growth and change of both the bookselling industry and the Foundation, it is again time to hear from booksellers about what they want and need in an organization dedicated to helping them in times of financial hardship. Therefore, we are conducting a second industry survey intended at getting a better understanding of the current needs and experiences of the nation’s booksellers.

The survey will be accessible from September 6 to October 23 and will take about 5-7 minutes to complete.  Participants will be eligible to win one of four (4) $50 American Express Gift Cards as a thank you for taking the time to complete the survey.

Please Help Spread the Word

 
Please take a moment to complete the survey to tell us how we can better support bookstore employees and their families in times of financial hardship.  Also, please forward the survey to other book industry professionals you know so that they can respond as well. Everyone in the book industry is welcome to provide their feedback and take the survey.

Take the survey today at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Binc

Thank you for your input. The results of the survey will be released in January 2017.

Ken White Tells Why Binc’s Help is Essential to Booksellers

Ken White

Ken White, Binc board member and founder of Query Books

We know the profit margin on books is slim. Our bookish world is teeming with smart, talented, independent people who could be making twice as much money somewhere else. But we don’t, because there’s something soul-less about selling stuff you don’t care about. We are purveyors of culture, and that’s as glamorous as being a movie star…minus, of course, the ball gowns and limousines.

So what happens when that glamorous but limousine-less bookseller runs into unexpected financial crisis? From, say, catastrophic hospital bills after a necessary procedure, or escaping an abusive domestic situation? If a bookseller has been living paycheck-to-paycheck, as many of us have done, there might not be much savings in the bank to pay that off. They may be forced into a situation where they have no resources to pay the bills and get back on their feet. That’s where Binc can lend a hand.

Binc Helps a Fellow Bookseller

 
I’ll give an example from one of my early experiences working with Binc. A bookseller (whose identity is known only by two people on staff) missed a few days of work due to a heart attack. Yes, a heart attack. And that bookseller, God bless ‘em, was already back at work a few days later. Between the medical bills and lost income, they were having trouble paying other important bills. Binc was able to step in, get their bills paid, and protect them from further hardship caused by the emergency. I’m proud of this bookseller who soldiered on, and I’m proud of Binc for helping a bookseller pay their bills during a rough spell.

In fact, Binc gave away nearly $55,000 in financial assistance grants in 2015. Binc also gave away over $220,000 in scholarship money for professional development and higher education, some of that for college tuition, and also a number of scholarships to book industry trade events.

No matter our background, there may come a day for any of us when we have to struggle to stay in the business we love. Sometimes a little help is all it takes to sustain a life in books. That’s why I love Binc; it’s the safety net for booksellers.

Many thanks to Binc board member, Diversity Task Force champion, and Query Books founder, Ken White, for sharing why he feels Binc is essential to the well-being of booksellers across the country.

Reps to the Rescue

Meg and Kate

Meg Sherman and Kate McCune – Binc’s SUPER-REPS!

Two sales reps have been a major help in spreading the word about Binc to bookseller accounts and are now encouraging other reps to do so, too.

Kate McCune

McCune

HarperCollins field rep Kate McCune worked in bookselling before joining the publisher 14 years ago. “I spent so many years being a bookseller and working with booksellers that I know a lot of people don’t have a cushion,” she said.

McCune, who is also a Binc board member, initially heard about Binc at trade shows. “My kinship to booksellers kind of made me predisposed to work with Binc,” explained McCune. She also felt that it was critical to support independent booksellers. “This channel is hugely important,” she said. “I think it’s crucial that we’re there to just help people have the lives they want to have and not have it go off the rails. It feels like a no-brainer to help out on that front.”

In 2014, McCune and Kit Steinaway put together small, one-sheet kits for sales reps to take on calls. The idea, McCune explained, is for a sales rep to talk about Binc for just 30 seconds to a minute and leave behind some literature. McCune has found that a low-tech, face-to-face method, which she called the “pony express way,” seems to be best for spreading information about Binc among both booksellers and sales reps.

Meg Sherman

Meg video image

Meg Sherman (along with many other bookfolk), in a Binc video of support.

Likewise, Meg Sherman, a sales rep at Norton, who was an independent bookseller for 13 years, is a major advocate for Binc. “Strong booksellers need stronger bookstores need a stronger book industry,” she said.

“When booksellers aren’t able to come to work because of things going on in their lives, when they’re worried about how to pay their bills, they might leave [the industry] to take another job that they’d rather not take,” she continued. “Anything we can do to help with that and keep those stores strong means a stronger industry and stronger communities.”

After a series of historic floods in Colorado in 2013, she took notice of Binc’s work. “They had worked with several booksellers at Boulder Book Store to help them in midst of the floods,” recalled Sherman. “It was so immediate that they got on my radar.”

Ever since, Sherman has been advocating for Binc. Sherman’s territory as a sales rep covers seven Western states, and while giving rep talks around the region she takes time to mention Binc and the sorts of things they do for booksellers. And if she hears about a struggling staff member while speaking with store owners, Sherman doesn’t hesitate to mention Binc. Sherman has also begun talking to other sales reps about advocating for Binc.

Sherman said has consistently been struck by Binc’s multi-faceted efforts, which include providing grants to offset bills, advocating on behalf of booksellers while dealing with hospitals, insurance companies and similar institutions, and providing scholarships to booksellers to attend regional and national trade shows. “It really impresses me.”

We want to thank Kate and Meg for their support of the Foundation and for all they have done to get the word our about our mission and programs. They are truly our Binc SUPER-REPS!

This post is a reprint of Binc’s dedicated Shelf Awareness Issue from March 30, 2016. To learn more about the Binc Foundation and how we help booksellers you can read the full article, here.

Binc’s Diversity Task Force Initiative

Diversity Task Force

In our previous blog post, part of Binc’s dedicated issue in Shelf Awareness, our new Diversity Task Force Initiative was introduced. Thanks to the hard work of our Program Committee members, including Query Books founder Ken White, Binc is working to actively support diversity in the book industry. Here is a brief description from Ken on the direction and progress that the committee has made so far.

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Binc’s Scholarship Help and New Programs

Chris Hsiang_Pam scholarship programs winter institute

At the Tattered Cover during WI11 in Denver: Scholarship winner Chris Hsiang from Compass Books with Pam French.

Binc has helped a variety of booksellers and their families help pay for higher education and provided key scholarship programs to booksellers attend industry events. Andrea Jones, who recently became co-owner of Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, Vt., was able to attend Winter Institute 11 in Denver because of “the generous scholarship from Binc,” she said. “During the week in Denver, I learned from other booksellers and industry professionals, but also from the wonderful representatives from Binc. It was really nice to hear that in this very exciting and rewarding world of bookselling, there are people dedicated to working to help others so they can continue to share great books and knowledge, support writers and publishers, support communities in the free exchange of ideas.”

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Hannah Lee Reports from Children’s Institute 4

Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee from Main Point Books is a member of Binc’s Program Committee and serves as a member of the Diversity Task Force. The goal of the Diversity Task Force is to draw more people of diverse backgrounds into bookselling and to help those already in the industry to stay and excel.

Hannah attended Children’s Institute 4 in Orlando and presented on a panel on children’s nonfiction that was well attended. Here is Hannah’s report from the conference.

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2016 Campaign to Sustain – We thank our donors!

Campaign to Sustain

The Binc Foundation would like to thank everyone who donated to our 2016 Campaign to Sustain in the month of May. With your help (all 32 of you!) we were able to raise funds that will be used to grant financial assistance to booksellers from across the country facing financial crisis.

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Natural Disasters, Medical Problems: Binc’s Help

Photo of Annie and Pam

Annie Philbrick owner of Bank Square Books with Binc Executive Director, Pam French.

Some of Binc’s most invaluable help has come after bookstores have suffered natural disasters. A striking case involved Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., when, in October 2013, Tropical Storm Sandy caused a tidal surge that overwhelmed the store’s sandbagged walls. “Tuesday morning we arrived to a very wet store and no lights, computers or anything but dampness and the smell of a beach at low tide,” recalled owner Annie Philbrick. “Over the next two days, with the undying support of the local community, we packed up and moved the entire children’s section to an empty apartment upstairs, and the remaining store into two Mayflower moving trucks to be held at a storage facility about five miles away until we were able to open up again as a bookstore.”

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Binc Announces the 2016 Binc Foundation Scholars

Learning never exhausts the mind

Binc is thrilled to announce its 2016 Higher Education Scholarship winners! This year’s program awarded 27 scholarships, totaling $109,000, to eligible current bookstore employees/owners and their dependents as well as former Borders Group employees and their dependents. There were two (2) $10,000 scholarships, twenty-four (24) $3,500 scholarships, and one (1) $5,000 Karl Pohrt Memorial Scholarship – granted to an independent bookstore employee candidate who has overcome learning adversity or is a non-traditional student. The scholarships can be used for tuition, fees, books, supplies and room and board. Funds may also be used over consecutive years if the student is not able to use the entire award for the 2015-2016 academic year.

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