Trade Show Season Comes to an End

 

The 2017 fall trade show season has come to an end. Trade Show season is a crucial time for the Binc team since our most effective tool for awareness is talking to booksellers directly. It was great to see so many friends from all across the book industry, from IBAs to the ABA and everyone in between.

We’ve been incredibly busy helping booksellers after hurricanes, wildfires and through all of the other emergencies we’ve helped with for more than 20 years. Even so, we wanted to take a minute to share some of our favorite memories from the 2017 Trade show season

Our Program Director, Kit Steinaway, said her favorite memory came from early in the season, at the SIBA gathering:

“My favorite memory from this year’s trade show season was the sight of so many booksellers having fun together playing a rousing game of Heads-Or-Tails. We spend a lot of time helping booksellers through their most dire moments, to see so many of my favorite people just having a great time was amazing.”

Director of Development Kathy Bartson’s favorite part of travelling to trade shows is the warm reception Binc receives from all of the Independent Bookseller Associations, and how their support helps Binc help more booksellers.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without the support of the IBAs. The good will they have put out for us for all these years is paying off because booksellers are learning they can turn to us for help.”

Joan Noricks recently joined the Binc team as Office Coordinator. She and fellow newbie Adam Gac joined Kit for the Heartland Fall Forum. She was wowed (and a little exhausted) by the experience.

“I knew we were going to be meeting a lot of wonderful booksellers, but who knew I was in for personal capacity building? The programming was amazing, especially listening to so many authors and wanting to read all their work – not to mention strengthening my upper body carrying all those various tote bags of books.”

Communications Coordinator Adam Gac had this to say:

“THIS IS AMAZING. I can’t wait to get back to the office to make a blog post about how incredible it is to spend time with so many brilliant booksellers.”

The northern California show kicked off while many of the wildfires were still burning, Executive Director Pam French was there, talking with booksellers about the needs of their communities.

“Being with book people and in particular witnessing their resiliency and compassion for each other was inspiring. This is why Binc exists, to help booksellers help each other when the unthinkable happens.”

We can’t wait to see everyone again next year. (And at Winter Institute!)

Chuck’s Ride interview with Stirling Books and Brew

 

Chuck Robinson, of Village Books and Paper Dreams, and Richard Hunt, of AdventureKEEN, recently visited Staci and Jim Stuart, owners of Stirling Books & Brew in Albion, MI. They stopped to talk about how Binc and the Albion community came to Jim and Staci’s aid after Staci suffered a spinal injury just days before the store was set to open. You can join Chuck and Richard in supporting Binc, click here. You can also join in helping Staci with her recovery here.

 

 

Helping booksellers after the unexpected from Binc Foundation on Vimeo.

The Lasting Effects of Hurricanes

Sights like this street in Friendswood, Texas, are common in the wake of major storms and hurricanes. Luckily for booksellers, Binc is able to provide help throughout the recovery process.

At the Binc Foundation, we know that the effects of a major storm on a household’s finances often don’t show up until months later. After storms like the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, the calls we are receiving for assistance fall into a familiar pattern. Each stage of need requires a different form of assistance and the Binc Foundation has learned how to help booksellers navigate the trail from disaster to recovery.

Stage 1: In the first hours and days after a storm hits, residents are laser-focused on where they will stay, the need to feed and clothe their families, how they will get around and how soon they will be able to return to work.

In these first frantic hours Binc can help booksellers by guiding them to the local resources, making sure they have a safe place to stay by paying for emergency housing, and by providing gift cards with which to purchase the emergency supplies needed for daily life.

Stage 2: After the first 72 hours, as people begin to return to their homes and assess the damages, the needs become more intricate. The sense of loss and helplessness can be quite overwhelming. At the very least, there is the huge task of cleaning up the mess left behind in the wake of the storm. Sometimes the homeowner must tackle the task of sifting through all of their belongings to separate what can be saved from what cannot. In other cases the home is more severely damaged, leading to the need for longer term temporary housing while the home is repaired, or a new home all together if it cannot be saved.

Binc is ready to help booksellers pay for the clean-up of their homes and repairs not covered by their insurance or landlord. The Foundation can also step in to help with expenses needed for longer term housing, or the funds needed to relocate to a new home. Binc can also help with the replacement of essential household goods and furnishings not covered by insurance.

Stage 3: While a bookseller is busy repairing their home, they may not be working at their bookstore job. The bookstore may be closed due to damage or lack of utilities or the bookseller may not be able to get to work due to the post-storm conditions in the area. This lack of income added to the stress and financial outlay that the disaster has caused can lead to a serious financial hardship.

The Foundation can help replace this loss of household income and keep the family current with essential expenses.

Stage 4: When the storm is over and people are back to work; life may seem to be “normal” again. This is when booksellers can find that the funds they used for clean-up and replacing personal items, or income they lost when recovering from the disaster have caused a shortfall. Many times this does not surface for several months down the road, when the bookseller finds that they cannot meet their essential monthly rent, utility or transportation, or other personal expenses.

If you are a bookseller who is at this stage, please contact Binc. Just because the storm has passed and is no longer in the news, Binc still has your back. The Foundation is here to help not just during the first hours after a disaster, but for the month’s that follow.

If you have recently weathered Hurricanes Harvey, Irma or Maria, please remember that Binc is here for you. If your household is going through a financial crisis, contact Binc. We are your safety net!

If you were lucky enough to not be touched by these storms, but would like to help, you can click here to donate.

Binc Bookseller Survey 2016 Results Released

 

Executive Director Pam French Discusses Results

 

The long awaited updated on the Binc 2016 survey results is here! Thank you, and more thanks to everyone who took their time to answer our survey.  I apologize for the long gap in hearing the results, but the good news is that the Binc team has been VERY busy with helping booksellers and gaining industry-wide financial support.

For a quick reminder the purpose of the survey was to:

  • Gather information on Binc’s current level of awareness
  • Rate program performance and relevance
  • Solicit suggestions for new programs

487 people completed the 2016 survey, compared with 369 in 2014. Thank you!

I’m going to provide highlights first, and then more detail on the responses to the individual questions. You’ll be pleased to hear we have already made changes and expanded programs in response to your input.

Key Findings

Highlights Summary

 Programs

  • 30% of those who responded have had a financial crisis but just under 8% of those in need reached out for help
  • Serious Medical Expenses is still the most important qualifying event category
  • The most requested new program is Loss of Income Due to Store Closing
  • The booksellers we help are highly satisfied with our service

Communication & Marketing

  • Awareness has improved but there is still a significant gap in reaching booksellers
  • Once people know about Binc, they agree our mission is crucial to the book industry
  • People prefer to hear news directly from Binc via e-newsletter
  • Shelf Awareness continues to be the most effective way to tell booksellers about Binc

Fundraising/Development

  • When people donate, they prefer to give on our website/electronically
  • Sharing stories is the best encouragement for a donation

Read on if you would like a bit more detail.

The Great News

More people know about Binc – at least 10% more from 2014

When asked, How familiar are you with the Binc Foundation”, the “not at all category” reduced by 10% and the “slightly” category increased by 7%, and the “extremely” increased by 1%.

Shelf Awareness and Fellow Booksellers are key in spreading awareness about Binc

 

Fellow booksellers (25%) and Shelf Awareness (21%) are the top ways booksellers first learn about Binc

***For those who really like to dig into the data find more details on this question at the end

Shelf Awareness (51%) and Fellow Booksellers (36%) are the resources that are relied on for general updates on what’s happening at Binc.  The ABA comes in at 30% through Bookselling this Week or the Red Box.

When asked, “What resources do you rely on to get general news of the book industry.” respondents indicated:

Once people know about Binc, they believe our mission is critical

82% believe the assistance Binc provides is extremely or very important.

This remained the same as 2014.

Just over 50% indicated that hearing stories about how Binc has helped bookstore employees and their families had the greatest influence towards encouraging a donation.

 

Needs Improvement

There’s a big gap between booksellers with a need and those who apply for assistance

31% of respondents indicated they had an emergency financial need over the past two years.

While only 8% of those with a need contacted Binc to ask questions or apply for assistance.

There are a variety of reasons for not contacting Binc but the most common are:

  • Someone else might need help more.

We cannot stress enough that Binc is here to help all booksellers. If you have a need please give us a call. Sometimes talking through your situation can open up options.

  • I didn’t want to ask for help.

This is common, and understandable. No one wants to have to ask for help, especially if you’re working. Binc exists to be a safety net for the one time you do need help. We work to ensure a specific emergency does not spiral out of control. Contacting Binc early helps resolve an emergency situation before it really adds up. The number of repeat requests is under 7%. Once the emergency is resolved booksellers are usually able to maintain their finances.

  • Fear that others would find out.

The entire process is completely confidently and private. We do verify bookstore employment, otherwise the only communication is directly with the applicant. Our internal process even uses grant numbers, not names.

 

Suggestions and Ideas on how Binc can help more

Which of the following programs not offered by Binc would be of greatest value? (select up to 3)

65% – Loss of income due to a store closing

Binc added this qualifying event in early 2016 – the survey response reinforces that it’s the right direction but we need to do a better job of communicating that we help with this situation

32% – Reskill assistance for employees of closing bookstores

30% – Car Repair

In 2016 Matching Grants were added to help address this need.  IRS regulations prevent car repairs from being a qualifying event within our nonprofit designation.

29% – Relocation for job placement

Research is needed to determine if this is possible to add.

27% – Expanded Professional Development

Binc is expanding support for the Fall Regional Trade Shows with a partnership with Macmillan Publishing. We are thrilled to offer an additional scholarship to each Regional Show and also provide development opportunities for underrepresented booksellers.

And Binc has partnered with Justus Joseph from Squirrel and Nest  to create a blog series on personal expense and income management. You can read the first installment in the series here, and the second installment here.

27% – Personal Financial Assistance

This is the core of our programs, so we need to continue to communicate our programs.  To help with this Kit Steinaway moved into a Programs Manager role full-time in March 2017

25% – Short-term Personal/business Loan –

With Binc’s current IRS determination we are not allowed to administer loans. In working to find other ways to help we are launching a new pilot program to provide grants (not loans) to bookstores hit with a natural disaster.  The pilot will run through the end of 2017.

24.5% – Emergency Travel Expenses

This is also being researched and evaluated.

 

*** In the top ways booksellers first learned about Binc the number three spot was “other” with 16%.

I did some digging and here’s what makes up the other 16%.

#1 – Social media, primarily Facebook

#2 – In store materials, posters, magnets, bookmarks, etc.

#3 – Ann Patchett or Ambassador Patchett as we are so honored to call her

#4 – ABA and IBA communication

#5 – This survey

#6 – A tie between Borders Alumni and the Things I Know About Bookselling Blog

 

If you made it this far you really love data (or Binc or Booksellers or all of the above) and it would be fabulous to have you join our Finance and Governance committee! We are always looking for passionate volunteers.

If you are interested in joining this, or any of our committees, please contact us at info@bincfoundation.org.

Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship Announced

Please join us in launching a new fund to support emerging booksellers and their efforts in community building, in honor of Carla Gray.

The Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists will be managed by the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation.

Carla Gray believed that books could change people and that people change the world. This memorial fund in her honor connects on both fronts, at the intersection of books and activism.

The Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship will be given annually to a single bookseller with fewer than five years of experience, working at a store with less than $500k in revenue. The bookseller will be given a scholarship for professional development, including attendance at a key industry trade show, one of Carla’s favorite activities. The bookseller will have the opportunity to connect with booksellers, publishers, and authors and to establish the kind of long-term relationships Carla held dear and that keep this business thriving. The bookseller will also be given a stipend (amount TBD) to support a community outreach project of his/her own creation. This scholarship and its recipients will celebrate and honor Carla’s boundless enthusiasm for the books themselves, her delight in pairing the right book with the right reader, and her faith in the bookselling community.

We are grateful to Binc for helping to commemorate our beloved friend and book champion. We are looking forward to refining the range of the award once we have a base fund established.”

Hannah Harlow, Jenna Johnson, and MaryBeth Long
Friends of the Extraordinary Carla Gray

Additional information can be found at Shelf Awareness, Publishers Weekly, and Legacy.com.

Contributions can be made here.

 

Guest Blog – Squirrel and Nest Financial Counselling: Tracking Your Spending

 

Squirrel and Nest Financial Counselling has teamed up with Binc Foundation to present ways for booksellers to build a foundation of financial literacy and move towards financial stability at any pay rate. In part two, the series continues with a discussion about how and why you should track what you spend.

If personal finance has a golden rule, it’s this: spend less than you make. If you can only follow one piece of financial advice, that’s the one. Yet, for however simple that advice seems, most people don’t actually follow it. If you’re not, you’re borrowing money and paying compound interest on the amount you borrowed. For some purchases that may make sense, like a mortgage on a house. Entering into debt should be done – if done at all – intentionally and in an informed manner. But that’s not what’s going on when we spend beyond our income, and with easy access to credit it takes no effort to do so.

How then do you begin to follow this golden rule? Track what you spend. You need to know – and understand – where your money is going and how you are using it.

This can be frightening and intimidating. We are taught to attach value to finances akin to “having money is good, and not having money is bad.” With this mentality, people in financial difficulty often judge themselves and enter a self-defeating loop. If you give into your inner negative, judging voice, you won’t be able to see your financial situation with honesty and clarity to be able to make the changes you want. The challenge you face is to detach yourself from this judgment. Cultivate an objective mind when you look at your money. This is the essential in developing a healthy financial perspective.

To track your spending, you really need to record every monetary transaction you make. This includes money coming in (paychecks, loans you take out) and going out (purchases, rent, debt repayment, etc). I personally prefer to do this manually by keeping a pen-and-paper record of all transactions in a blank book or journal. If you’re more technologically inclined, or if technology will get you to stick with your tracking exercise, use a spreadsheet. By manually entering every transaction, you are connecting with, and understanding, your money and the habits you’ve developed surrounding its use. You can tally it either as you spend or receive money, or you can keep your receipts and enter them at the end of each day, but you have to do this consistently. By each day’s end, you should know exactly how much money you have and where every cent that has gone.

If manual entry seems daunting, consider a bookkeeping app like Mint.com. This website and phone app allows you to link your bank accounts, credit cards and loans, and will let you track all of your income and spending automatically. You still have to do some work as it doesn’t always categorize transactions correctly, so you still have to go in and categorize your expenses, but you no longer need to manually enter each purchase you make. Some people find this a much easier and better system. Just keep in mind you are losing out on the advantages of writing this information down, including the immediate and very real connection to your spending habits.

After a month of this practice, you will develop a sense of what you have been doing with your money during the course of a month. Separate purchases into common categories like groceries, housing, entertainment, eating out, debt payments, books, etc. Figure out how much you’ve spent in each category and total the amounts. (Pro tip: Keep separate categories for groceries and eating/drinking out.)

At the end of the month, ask: Did you spend more or less than you made that month? What spending habits do you see when you look at these categories and receipts? Does this reflect your values / Is this how you want to spend your money? In compiling this information, you’ve created a budget template, which means you have a rough idea about what you spend in a month and can project your future spending needs. More than that, once you know how you’re using your money, you’re in a position to make conscious changes about your spending habits.

Other tools that may help you track your money include cash envelopes (more on that in this blog post), keeping a consumer spending journal, or other forms of creative journal tracking. The trick is to find the approach that works for you. Keep that in mind as you begin. Try as many different ways of tracking your money as you can and see what actually works for you. There’s a solution out there for you. You just have to be willing to try a few options.

Budgets and spending plans succeed when they are flexible. You know this already, but life can be unpredictable. You’ll find items in your expenditures that you weren’t expecting. Don’t let this throw you off course. Those exceptions happen, and as you do this month after month, you’ll come to find that they happen nearly every month in one way or another. Maybe it’s a birthday party you were invited to attend, or perhaps your car needed a repair. As you become more proficient at budgeting, add a category for those surprise expenses. Every month can be “exceptional,” but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared for it.

A few final points… Be sure to budget a line for savings, including building an emergency fund (Check out part one in this series to learn more about emergency funds). Building an emergency fund will keep an unexpected expense from turning into a disaster. And don’t forget to give yourself a set allowance for fun spending money that is not to be exceeded. Any budget plan with nothing set aside for fun is a plan for failure.

Make a plan, stick to it, and keep moving forward. You can do this!

(If you’re interested in seeing the startling amount of debt Americans rack up, the Federal Reserve publishes quarterly statistics about it. If you would like a meaningful discussion of debt, NerdWallet offers an accessible analysis on household debt and what it means.)

If you have any questions, feel free to email Justus Joseph at Squirrel and Nest.

If you are or know a bookseller in need of financial assistance, contact Binc at help@bincfoundation.org.

 

Guest Blog – Squirrel and Nest Financial Counselling: Emegency Funds

 

People who sell books for a living are in the industry because they love it. Passion, not money, brings people to bookselling careers. Learning how to live well on wages that gravitate near minimum wage without the benefit of tips can be a daunting task. Squirrel and Nest Financial Counselling has teamed up with Binc Foundation to present a few ways for booksellers to build a foundation of financial literacy and move towards financial stability at any pay rate. First in the series: Emergency funds.

Many of us come to the industry with debt, often a combination of credit cards and student loans. We face rising housing and living costs, and we deal with any number of financial quandaries on a daily basis. Given our economic realities, putting money aside to sit-and-wait for a just-in-case scenario can feel maddening – or seem plain mad. Yet emergency funds are arguably the most important element of a financial safety net. Perhaps second only to “spend less money than you make,” the financial advice to “build an emergency fund” is among the best you can follow.

What exactly is an emergency fund? It is cash set aside to be used only in an unexpected one-time situation and only to prevent imminent danger to one’s physical health. In other words, an emergency fund is money you keep to bail yourself out when a true emergency arises.

Sadly, emergencies will happen; they’re a common part of life. Knowing what is and isn’t an emergency will give you the guidelines you need to manage your just-in-case cash fund. An emergency is a one-time unexpected situation that threatens your access to basic food, shelter, clothing, and/or medical care. Specific threats to each category include the following:

Food – not having enough basic food to survive, having no money for food due to an unexpected situation, already using the food bank and still not making it.

Shelter – receiving an eviction notice, having essential utilities cut off (water, electricity, heat in cold months).

Clothing – lack of basic appropriate clothing to keep you safe and warm to due an unexpected situation.

Medical care – injury or illness that requires medical attention

What do each of these situations have in common? They threaten your very existence.

I want to dwell on medical care for one moment because your well being – financial and otherwise – is tied to your access to health care. You need health insurance; consider this absolutely non-negotiable. Making a choice not to pursue medical care is a decision that threatens your physical health in the short- and long-terms. Becoming sick is never expected, but it is a reality each of us faces even if we seem otherwise healthy. Even with insurance, co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses often lead people to not access these essential services. Having money on hand to cover those costs is crucial. When you have insurance, make sure you are familiar with its terms, copays, and out-of-pocket maximums. Once you know what you may have to pay in the worst-case scenario, add the amount to your emergency fund target goal.

How much money do you need in an emergency fund, and how do you put any money away on a bookseller’s salary?

Conventional financial advice suggests individuals save enough to cover three to six months of expenses, plus your worst-case out-of-pocket medical costs. We would love to say there’s an easy way for the average bookseller’s finances to reach this goal in a timely manner, but the reality is that saving that much cash for a minimum wage worker takes a very long time. So instead of looking at a large and daunting number, start small. Aim to create a $500 cash emergency fund.

Why $500? This amount will cover small, unexpected events like an emergency doctor visit, a basic car repair, a trip to the emergency vet with a pet, or being short on rent or food. It’s a number within reach of nearly everyone’s budget with some planning, and it’s a good start. If you put $20 away a month, you can have $500 in about two years. Increase your monthly savings to $42 to complete this goal within one year.

When you decide to create your emergency fund, it helps to keep the money separate from your usual living expenses. Keep it in a separate account, ideally a high-interest rate savings account often offered by credit unions and online banks, or set it aside as cash in an envelope or somewhere you will not be tempted to use it.

To build up your fund, consider utilizing these suggestions:

  • Have money transferred from your regular account to your emergency fund automatically.
  • Start small. And keep going. Even $20 a month is a good beginning!
  • Save unexpected windfalls. Instead of spending birthday money, a work bonus, surprise cash, etc., put it into your emergency fund.
  • Save more. Change your spending habits to make room to save. This requires knowing where your money is going and what it’s doing, which we’ll cover in a future blog post.
  • Earn more. Get a second job or a side-hustle to grow your income. Ask for a raise.
  • Forget your raise! If you do earn a raise, don’t inflate your lifestyle to match it. Continue to live on what you made previously. Put what additional money you earn into a savings account so you don’t see it.

When you’re saving, and after a while this amount will grow, keep in mind that it’s okay to let this money sit as cash or in a savings account. It may be tempting at some point to invest it to grow your money, but the point of an emergency fund is for it to be there right away when you need it. It’s your safety net. Leave it alone.

Moreover, a credit card is not an emergency fund. If you can’t afford to pay for an emergency need the moment it’s before you, how are you going to afford it later with compound interest added on? A $300 emergency on a credit card may end up taking 18 months to pay off and cost $42 extra in interest. Using a credit card to cover emergencies puts individuals in a bad situation where, on top of the stress of the emergency itself, they’re now in debt. Any further complications or a second emergency situation could damage their financial stability for years.

Consider buying term disability insurance. Employers are required to carry workers compensation insurance, which covers you in case you are injured on the job. Many large companies also give, or offer, disability insurance, which covers you in case you are sick or are injured from something other than a workplace injury. Many bookstores are too small or can’t afford to give employees disability insurance, so purchase a term disability policy in case your health suffers and you are unable to work.

Wherever you decide to begin, getting an emergency fund together is one of the best forms of protection you can give yourself. You’re the only one who’s going to look after you, so be the guardian you would want on your side and be kind to yourself. Make a plan, stick to it, and keep going.

If you have any questions, feel free to email Justus Joseph at Squirrel and Nest.

If you are or know a bookseller in need of financial assistance, contact Binc at help@bincfoundation.org.

Advocating Across the Nation

One of the most important parts of providing a safety net for booksellers is making sure they know the safety net is there.

The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation is fortunate to have great partners in the book industry like the American Booksellers Association and regional bookselling associations who help us spread our message to their members. Even with these great pillars of support helping Binc reach booksellers every day, there’s just no substitute for walking into a bookstore and telling a bookseller face-to-face that Binc has their back in an emergency.

Every member of the Binc team has a packet of information and Binc-related swag that we carry with us to stop into stores whenever we are travelling. We know direct contact with booksellers is key to promoting awareness of our programming since we can often trace each other’s journeys based on increased grant applications. As the one of the newest members of the crew, I recently had the opportunity to make my first series of bookstore stops while on a cross-country vacation.

I’ll admit, I was pretty confident going into my first store. Just a week before, our Program Director had visited 10 Texas stores in one day. I was positive that I could handle at least half that with no issues. I rehearsed my speech, prepared a handful of goodies including Binc bandages, magnets and an info sheet. I waited patiently until the bookseller finished helping a customer. Then things went off the rails.

“HellohaveyouheardaboutBincWe’rethhebookindustrycharitablefoundationand
we’reheretohelpyouinanemergencywecanprovidequickandconfidentialfinacialaidwithnostringsattached,” I was so excited to tell the bookseller about all of the different programs Binc has that I barely had time to pause for punctuation, let alone oxygen.

I was met with a duly-deserved eyebrow raise.

I held up my handful of Binc goodies, grinning and nodding and hoping the sight of magnets with pamphlets would assure the baffled bookseller that I was on the level. The bookseller nodded as if to say, “Yes, those are magnets, but why are you in my store waving them around?”

Tough Act to Follow: Program Director Kit Steinaway set a personal record by visiting 10 bookstores in one day during a recent trip to Texas. There were so many stores we couldn’t fit them all in this image.

Needless to say, I had to take a deep breath and restart my spiel. Once I slowed down and explained how Binc is dedicated to helping booksellers thrive by providing them with financial aid to overcome unexpected hardships, the bookseller was more than willing to take my proffered pamphlet and promised to explain to the other employees how a fancy new magnet found its way onto the break room fridge.

This isn’t just a blog post about how I embarrassed myself in front of a bookseller. It’s a call to action for anyone who wants to help Binc ensure that no bookseller in the country feels like they have to make it on their own.

Hero’s Journey: Not every Binc advocating visit has to be embarrassing! By the time I made it to Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles I was ready to explain our programming to booksellers Kimoy Lee (left) and Julia Fung (right).

We need you. Whether you are an author visiting dozens of stores across the country while promoting your new book or a bibliophile who wants to help protect their favorite local bookstores, let Binc know and we will send you everything you need to help us help booksellers.

Reach out to us at info@bincfoundation.org and we can help you get started as a Binc advocate. Or, if you’re reading this on the way to your favorite indie bookstore, you can check out this link to get a basic idea of what to say. Grab a selfie while you’re there and we’ll give you a shout out on social media so the world can see that you’re taking action to protect literacy in your community.

Advocate in Action: Desiree Cooper (left) took some time while promoting her new book  Know the Mother to talk with Jill Beauchamp (right) at Horizon Books in Traverse City, MI. All it takes is a few minutes and you can make a world of difference for a bookseller.

Protecting Bookstores and Booksellers when Disaster Strikes

Since 1996, the Binc Foundation has been assisting individual booksellers with financial hardships brought on by disasters of all types. Many booksellers have relied on help from the Binc Foundation to be their safety net when disaster strikes, allowing them to return to work without the stress and added expense brought on by disasters large or small.

Beginning June 1, 2017, the Foundation will roll out a Disaster Recovery Assistance for Bookstores – Pilot Program offering the same type of assistance to the bookstores themselves. Recurring requests over the past few years and the results of Binc’s 2016 Bookseller Survey led to the creation of this pilot program. This assistance is meant to keep bookstore staff employed, by helping the store quickly return to normal business operations in the wake of a disaster. The assistance is intended to help the store make repairs, replace furnishings, pay utility bills and other related expenses. Bookstore owners may apply to Binc for assistance with expenses that are not the responsibility of the landlord and are not covered by insurance. The assistance grant will typically cover the difference between what the store’s insurance pays and the demonstrated financial need to reopen the bookstore.

Whether the disaster is wide spread (hurricane, flood, wildfires, tornadoes, etc.) or smaller in scale (building fires, plumbing related floods, etc.), Binc is dedicated to help keep bookstores open and serving their communities.

If your store has experienced a disaster of any size, contact Binc at 866-733-9064 or help@bincfoundation.org.

Life can be unpredictable, just remember, when disaster strikes . . . Binc has your back!

Shop Local Live Local supports communities and booksellers

There’s nothing like enjoying a good book in an amazing spot. Whether you like to travel far to read a mystery novel by flashlight in a cave network or just find a cozy nook in your nearest park to read a romance, the only thing that makes connecting with a book better is connecting with nature while you do it.

That’s why we here at Binc are so excited for our upcoming promotion in partnership with AdventureKEEN and booksellers across the country. Throughout the month of June, you can support the bookseller safety net and find adventure in your own backyard by participating in Shop Local, Live Local.

During Shop Local Live Local, Booksellers will receive profits from the sale of AdventureKEEN regional titles as usual, but AdventureKEEN will donate its share of profits to supporting Binc in our mission of helping booksellers when they need it most.

In honor of this very adventurous undertaking, we’ve incorporated a choose-your-own-adventure element to this blog post.

If you want to know what kind of adventures AdventureKEEN can take you on, check out this article by the American Booksellers Association.

If you’re a bookseller wondering how you can order AdventureKEEN regional titles for your store to participate in Shop Local Live Local, check out this page!

If you’re wondering why it’s good to read books. Check out this article using science to explain why!

If you’re wondering why it’s good to get outside, check out this article – it’s also backed by the power of science!

If you would like to look at funny pictures of cats who love literature, check this out!

If you’re still reading, it means you survived your internet-choose-your-own-adventure, congratulations! You’re ready to take your adventure outdoors, by way of your local bookshop.

Shop Local Live Local isn’t just a great way for book lovers to support their local stores while finding new adventures in their communities. It takes that support, that love, you show your local indie bookstore with your patronage and it spreads it out to all of the bookstores in the country by providing funding for emergency financial assistance for booksellers.

Binc is providing booksellers with an additional way to thrive during the Shop Local Live Local promotion. The Foundation is sponsoring an in-store display contest with two $100 gift cards on the line for the winners! Simply take a photo of your Shop Local, Live Local display and send it to info@bincfoundation.org to be entered for your chance to win.

The promotion wouldn’t be possible without the support of our friends at Ingram Content Group, PGW and edelweiss, who are helping as expert trackers on our adventure with AdventureKEEN.