FOREVER A BINC-ISTA

FOREVER A BINC-ISTA

By Denise Chávez

Binc Scholarship Winner

 

I am a bookseller from Casa Camino Real in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I am also the recipient of a Binc scholarship to the American Bookseller’s Winter Institute in Minneapolis. As a native Southern New Mexican to whom a 70° day signals a cold spell, it was hard to ponder a trip in the winter. Fear of flying. Fear of cold. Fear of leaving the cats, including my feral cat colony. All these elements made me ponder the monumental decision of leaving home. And yes, the decision was made!

I was so honored to receive the Binc scholarship. A fledgling bookseller along with my husband, Daniel Zolinsky, our bookstore, Casa Camino Real, on the Border of New Mexico, Texas and Northern México, serves the corridor between worlds, focusing on Southwestern, Regional, Native American, Latino, as well as Multi-Cultural books in many languages.

To say this scholarship changed my life is an understatement. I met intelligent, articulate and committed book activists during the conference. To spend these days in panels, workshops and sessions with these admirable and strong-hearted souls was a great blessing.  Learning the book business is a daily exercise, and requires both patience and stamina, as well as a will to advance the great and throbbing human heart of the world that lives and breathes though the great gift of story.

As both a writer and bookseller, it is my don, my gift to work with books. Don is the word in Spanish for a gift or blessing. As a Mexican-American bookseller, it is my Manda, my responsibility and charge, to encourage the diversity and richness of multicultural books, most especially in this time of challenge for us in the U.S. We are surrounded by those who fear books and what they teach us—the loving expansion that allows us to feel one with those from different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities and life paths. As readers, we connect with the heart and spirit of the authors we read. We learn from them and grow in empathy and understanding.

It was a great joy to talk to Roger from Maria’s Bookstore in Durango, Colorado, about the books of the Spanish novelist, Roberto Bolaño, and to have ABA CEO Oren Teicher visit our historic adobe bookstore on the Camino Real and discuss the work of one of my favorite writers, Thomas Wolfe. As a lover of books, I never have enough opportunities to discuss the writers I love and appreciate.

The random and so important conversations in the many corridors and nooks and even bathrooms of the sprawling, impressive, and sometimes overwhelming Hyatt Regency afforded me the chance to sit with the Binc Family, Director Pamela French and her wonderful staff, Kathy Bartson and Kit Steinaway, and learn of the powerful work Binc does to support booksellers in need. I would not have been able to attend the Winter Institute were it not for the scholarship.

It was an honor to be selected—not only as someone who lives in remote part of the Southwest, but also—as a Mexican-American/Chicana who works hard to connect with the multicultural and Spanish language speaking community at Casa Camino Real, where a bilingual children’s book is the norm. Our readers are hungry to hear their voices and to see images of their lives reflected in books. I remember taking author Malin Alegría, author of Estrella’s Quinceañera, to a nearby valley elementary school in Vado, New Mexico, and hearing a young student say to her, “Miss, you’re my color!” No one had ever taken a Latino/Latina writer to their school and to see Malin there was a miracle to the young girl.

As a bookseller, one daily witness’s miracles. When a reader finds a book they have been looking for, it brings joy to both buyer and seller. And in a small way, each book is a miracle of faith and commitment.

Binc, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, is a purveyor and witness to miracles. Helping booksellers in need, with valued resources in times of great challenge—it stands firm with its constituents, bolstering, uplifting, and encouraging them in manifold and monumental ways.

I am a proud BINC-ISTA—someone who knows the don, the gift of a Binc scholarship, and of the organization’s far-reaching and visionary work. My connection to Binc is a precious and valued gift that means more than words can ever say—and I am a writer!

I will always be a BINC-ISTA and will do all I can to encourage my fellow booksellers to promote and support this wonderful, needed, and valuable organization.

¡Muchíssimas Gracias, Binc! Thank you for your gift of faith!

 

Sincerely yours,

Denise Chávez
Casa Camino Real Bookstore
314 South Tornillo Street
Las Cruces, New Mexico 88001

 

BINCISTA

Wanda Jewell with Scholarship winners Mary Prewitt, DeAndra Beard and Denise Chavez at Celebration Dinner. Winter institute 2017

 

A Celebration of Binc Firsts

Binc Co-Ambassador Ann Patchett and John Rubin from Above the Treeline

Binc Co-Ambassador Ann Patchett and John Rubin from Above the Treeline

While in Minneapolis for Winter Institute 12 the Binc board and staff hosted a celebratory dinner in honor of long-standing supporters, including Binc Co-Ambassador Ann Patchett.

To celebrate the progress made over the past five years friends of the Foundation from across the industry gathered at Union Rooftop for an evening of gratitude and thanks. Many who have helped the Foundation from day-one were honored, including:

The American Booksellers Association
Oren, the board of directors and the entire staff have helped raise awareness of Binc in additional to providing financial support.

Regional Book Association Executive Directors
This dedicated and fierce group not only helped raise awareness but have continued to ask how they can help. Many thanks to Eileen, Brian, Laura, Andrea, Calvin, Steve, Carrie and Binc board members Wanda and Deb.

Ingram Content Group
From the very first event in 2012 to their expanded support in 2016 Ingram Content Group has been on our side. We cannot thank them enough for their support these past five years, and for being our top corporate donor in 2016.

Shelf Awareness
Their very generous in-kind donations have expanded awareness of Binc throughout the country and the book industry. 21% of booksellers first learned about Binc from Shelf Awareness.

Mike McKnight – Basil Bookseller Software
Because of Mike’s request we created a new category of donors, the corporate sustaining donor. Basil Bookseller Software became Binc’s first corporate sustaining donor. Thank you!

Christine Curry – A Novel Experience
We are grateful to Christine for signing up to be the first sustaining store donor. Yay, A Novel Experience!

Book, Inc
Several Northern California bookstores were recognized for their long-standing support. Books Inc. was recognized as the first bookstore in the country to offer employees the option to donate to the Foundation through payroll deduction. And Books, Inc. is also the first in the country to match employee donations dollar-for-dollar up to $100 per employee.

And Copperfield’s Books was recognized for not only being a sustaining monthly donor but also for offering donations via payroll deduction. In addition, Copperfield’s has the most employees donating to Binc through payroll deduction.

Literati Bookstore
In our hometown, we send our thanks to Hilary, Mike and all the book ninjas at Literati. They held the first bookstore fundraising event to benefit the Foundation by donating 50% of their sales to celebrate their one-year anniversary.

Village Books – Chuck Robinson
Chuck took to the roads and included the Foundation as one of the charities to benefit from his 2015 bike adventure across the U.S. Chuck and his supporters donated $9,550 and through 2015 was the single largest fundraising effort for Binc.

Sourcebooks
Our friends at Sourcebooks become the first publisher to match their employee’s donations dollar-for-dollar. Many thanks to Sean Murray for leading the effort and energizing the team at Sourcebooks to repeat their generosity for two years.

Above the Treeline
They were the first to contribute digital ad space in-kind and maintain the top spot for click-through rate on both the Binc Scholarship Program and the annual Campaign-to-Sustain.

HarperCollins
We would not have made the progress we have over the past five years without the support of Harper Sales rep Kate McCune. She is not only the first publisher sales rep to serve on the Binc board of directors but also the first sales rep advocate. And Kate introduced Ann Patchett to Binc!

Parnassus Books
In 2016, the Parnassus team came together to help out one of their own and created the Bank on Booksellers auction. The event was so successful that they were able to help Steph and also booksellers across the country with the new largest single donation to Binc of $18,001! Thank you does not begin to convey how much their generosity has helped booksellers.

Ann Patchett – Binc Co-Ambassador
Our inaugural ambassador has shared her time, expertise, connections and generously donated to Binc. She has whole-heartedly embraced the Foundation’s mission to help improve the lives of booksellers. The course of the Foundation has changed because of her support.

Pam French, Binc Executive Director says, “Our book industry friends have led the way in the effort for Binc to become sustainable. Their support has allowed the Foundation to help 168 families over the past five years with $332,000 in emergency grants. I cannot thank them enough!”

If you would like to get involved, get your store signed up as a sustaining donor or join the
payroll deduction program, click here for the simple instructions. Or you can contact Kathy Bartson at 734-471-0201 or kathy@bincfoundation.org.

Need Scholarship Help? Think Binc!

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Higher education expenses are increasing at a rapid pace. Do you need help slowing that down? Having provided scholarships to booksellers since 2002, Binc can help!

As a former recipient, I have a strong connection to the Binc Foundation Higher Education Scholarship Program. I also am proud to say that a few of my (former) employees or their dependents have received a scholarship as well. I returned to grad school after vowing to “never write a paper again” at the end of my undergrad experience. The Foundation scholarship helped ease the pain of writing! I now give back to Binc in appreciation for the help of more than a decade ago. I am recently inspired by a former grant recipient who has generously donated back to Binc.

As an employer, I know that job satisfaction and retention can be improved by offering higher education assistance. Small business owners cannot afford to offer tuition assistance to their booksellers but the Binc Foundation scholarship can help. The program is administered by Scholarship America using a third-party process to evaluate applicants. Selection criteria include financial need, prior academic achievement and leadership. Eligibility includes current bookstore employees/owners and their dependents as well as former Borders Group employees and their dependents. The scholarship can be used for tuition, room & board, supplies or books.

Reading the thank you notes from previous scholarship winners at the committee meetings is enjoyed by the volunteers. It helps to put a personal feel to the help Binc gives. We love to hear that the Binc Foundation Higher Education Scholarship Program has helped. One recent scholarship recipient wrote:

“The past few years I’ve spent in bookselling have literally changed my life. I’m pursuing an MA and MFA in Children’s Literature because of all the books I fell in love with working at Brazos Bookstore! I wouldn’t know the person I want to be without bookselling, and I hope with my degree, and this award’s help, I can bring more fantastic books to our stores.”
– Liz Wright, Brazos Bookstore

 

Binc’s Scholarship Program opens January 16th

The 2017 Binc Foundation Scholarship program includes $10,000, $5,000 and $3,500 level awards and launches January 16, 2017! Please ensure that you’ve submitted your application by March 6, 2017.

Thanks and good luck!

– Christie Roehl, Binc board Secretary and Program Committee Chair

2016 in Review – Co-Ambassadors Join the Binc Team

Welcome to Part 2 of Binc’s 2016 year in review. You can read Part 1 here.

Co-Ambassadors Come On-board

Ann & James photos website homepage

In August we received the best 20th anniversary present we could have ever asked for. Board member, and HarperCollins sales rep, Kate McCune worked her magic and brought author, and Parnassus Books co-owner Ann Patchett on board as Binc’s Ambassador. Ann, in turn, asked her friend and colleague author James Patterson to act as Co-ambassador and he accepted! With their combined support, our Co-Ambassadors continue to introduce Binc and our mission to book industry professionals across the country. By increasing awareness of Binc and our mission, our Co-Ambassadors have gotten us on the radar of even more booksellers in need across the country leading to an increase in assistance requests, grants awarded and using their influence, to help generate philanthropic revenue for the Foundation. We are beyond thrilled to have Ann Patchett and James Patterson support our mission to help booksellers in need.

#BankonBooksellers Piggy Bank Auction

In September, Ambassador Patchett’s bookstore, Parnassus Books, held a fundraiser to support their bookseller, Stephanie. Stephanie had been diagnosed with breast cancer forcing her to stop working at the store to undergo treatment. The employees of Parnassus wanted to do something to help Stephanie through treatment, to give her time to heal and financial resources to pay her bills. They reached out to many of their famous friends with an idea to decorate piggy banks and sell them as a fundraiser for Steph, and got back more than 100 piggy banks decorated by authors, artists and celebrities! The BankOnBooksellers auction was off and running! The fundraiser was going so well, that Stephanie wanted to give to other booksellers in need, so Parnassus decided to donate part of the proceeds to Binc! Ambassador Patchett sent us this video, announcing that we would be receiving part of the proceeds

We were beyond grateful at the generosity not only of the Parnassus staff but of the authors, artists and celebrities who created the works of art for the auction! Thank you all! Book People are the Best People.

Regional Fall Trade Show Travel

As the piggy bank auction ended, the Binc staff and board were busy traveling to the Regional Fall trade shows across the country. We started at SIBA in Savannah, GA. Next it was NEIBA in Providence, RI. We then traveled to PNBA in Tacoma, WA. Heartland Fall Forum took us to Minneapolis, MN. In Denver, Co we attended the MPIBA show. Next we went to the NAIBA show in Baltimore, MD. The SCIBA show was held in North Hollywood. Last, but not least, NCIBA wrapped up the season in San Francisco, CA.

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NEIBA table

 

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The fall regional trade shows are all packed full of great author talks, conversations with booksellers, store owners, publishers and distributors. We love seeing old friends and meeting new ones. We can’t thank the Executive Directors of the regional bookseller’s associations enough for welcoming us at the shows and for supporting us through the year. We appreciate everything you do to help!

Borders Reunion – Party with a Purpose

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During our 20th year we wanted to make sure we celebrated and thanked all of our supporters including those who helped to create the Foundation. On October 23rd, Borders alumni, former Borders Group Foundation members and current Binc supporters gathered for an afternoon to catch up, reminisce, and write notes to Foundation friends past and present. Binc’s #1 volunteer, Toni McGinn checked everyone’s badges at the door, just like old times. Bill Edwards and Judy Banker performed on stage for everyone and there was a silent auction for baskets filled with Borders memorabilia, independent bookstore goodies and other book swag. A great time was had by all and attendees wrote over 100 notes to Binc supporters. Many thanks to our volunteer event planning committee Jennifer Hawkins, Judey Kalchik, Mark Brown, Jeanne Joesten and Barbara Kinzer for their time and effort in coordinating and running the celebration!

Committee

Bluffton Book Festival

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Throughout 2016, Binc Board of Directors member, and Rock Inked, Inc. founder, Rockelle Henderson, worked diligently to create a book festival in her hometown of Bluffton, SC. On November 18th and 19th, the Inaugural Bluffton Book Festival was held to benefit the community and all the book lovers in the Bluffton area. The event featured author talks, book signings, food, drinks, live music, read-alouds for children, raffles and more. Part of the proceeds of this fun event were donated to Binc! Kudos to Rockelle and the BBF event volunteers for your hard work in getting this fantastic event off the ground! We’re looking forward to next year!

Bluffton Book Festival

Kit Steinaway with BBF Founder Rockelle Henderson and Literacy Center ED, Pam Wall.

YEA Fundraising goal met!

The Binc Foundation continues to move toward becoming an industry sustained organization helping booksellers in need. Thanks to many industry partners, bookstores, and individuals for helping us exceed our fundraising goal for 2016. Our goal was to reach $100,000 – thanks to you we raised $125,000!

Some highlights and special thank you’s go to our Co-ambassadors Ann Patchett and James Patterson. Their work is raising the awareness of Binc and this is good for all booksellers.

Also, notable was the $10,000 gift we received from Ingram Content Group in honor of their business clients. This was a remarkable gift!

Sourcebooks generously offered to match their employees donations for the second year.

We were provided with not one but two matching gift challenges to boost our year end “Think Binc” campaign. Thanks to all of our board members for giving a little “extra gift”.  Our second matching gift challenge “Pay it Forward” was created by a very grateful past grant recipient and her partner. They wanted to give back and pat it forward so other booksellers could be helped. Both challenges helped to raise over $14,000!

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone that made 2016 such a successful year for Binc. From our board to our donors or our industry supporters to the booksellers that we are here to help, we are not able to fully express our sincere gratitude for your support and effort in helping us fulfill our mission to make the book industry stronger. We can’t wait to see what exciting things 2017 will bring and we are inspired and ready to work even harder to help book people.

Booksellers tell what Binc means to them

These booksellers are proud to support the Binc Foundation and the work we do to provide assistance to bookstore employees in need. Thanks to all the booksellers that appear in this video for their support of the Foundation and for helping us to spread the word!

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.

The Best of NEIBA’s Fall Show

I attended NEIBA’s Fall Trade Show in Providence, RI September 20th – 22nd. Great author talks, conversations with booksellers, store owners, publishers and distributors were too numerous to mention them all, so here are my top 10:

  • Meeting Binc scholarship winners Liz & Russ DeFonce from Moose Maple Books  in Saranac Lake, NY. We started talking books, but wandered off into gardening, birds and furniture making. (Check out the gorgeous furniture Russ creates as Bookman Designs)

NEIBA's Fall Trade Show Liz-and-Russ

  • Andrea Beaty’s presentation of the many “secrets” hidden in the illustrations to her new book, Ada Twist Scientist. It is like a scavenger hunt for fans of her books!
  • Having booksellers, stores and publishers find their names on our giant donor banner. Everyone likes to see their name in print. Getting to thank our donors in person and fill them in on what their donations have accomplished is something we love to do.

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  • Listening to those not on the list say “Our name should be there.” I was happy to explain all the donation options to ensure that next time around, their name will be listed!
  • Seeing our Binc magnets and bookmarks on the table at the HarperCollins booth! I’m not sure who in their group put them out, but THANK YOU!
  • Talking to a variety of people about joining our committees and adding their knowledge and enthusiasm to the Foundation. There is a real interest in helping Binc continue to help book people.
  • Staying at the Providence Biltmore, a gem of a hotel, built in the 1920’s. The ballroom was an amazing venue for the Awards Dinner!
  • Listening Elizabeth Strout after receiving the President’s Award. I am a real fan of Olive Kitteridge and My Name is Lucy Barton.
  • Meeting so many great new-to-me authors and adding too many books to my to-be-read pile. In full disclosure; this happens at all of the trade shows, it isn’t unique to NEIBA.
  • Enjoying a lovely back road drive down from Boston and visiting An Unlikely Story, Annie’s Book Stop and Ugly Dog Books along the way. Bookstore to bookstore is my favorite way to travel.

Thank You NEIBA!

A big thank you to Steve Fischer, Nan Sorenson and the NEIBA board for including Binc in NEIBA’s fall trade show again this year. I always look forward to the chance we have at the regional shows to address the membership and update booksellers on the state of their Foundation.

Next stop . . . Tacoma!

Kit

Pigs, Ice Cream and Sea Turtles, Oh My!

2016 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance trade show is a huge success!

Side Trip to Bluffton, SC Home of the Bluffton Book Festival

Pam, Kathy and Penny traveled to beautiful Savannah, GA for the recent SIBA trade show. On Thursday, Kathy and Pam drove to Bluffton, SC to meet with Binc board member Rockelle Henderson about the upcoming Bluffton Book Festival to be held on November 18 &19. Rockelle is the founder of the event, whose mission is to raise money for two non-profit organizations that support literacy, education, reading, authors, bookselling and the publishing community as a whole and to bring awareness to local and national literary talent in the process. Binc is thrilled to be one of the beneficiaries of the festival. While in Bluffton, Rockelle and Binc stopped in at The Storybook Shoppe which will be holding events during the Festival. Follett will be the official bookseller. Thanks to Rockelle, and all everyone involved, for putting the festival together.

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Bank On Booksellers Piggy Bank Auction

Thursday also marked the kick-off of The Bank on Booksellers piggy bank auction, created by Parnassus Books to support their bookseller, Stephanie, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in April of 2016. They reached out to a few of their friends with this idea for Step, and got back over 100 piggy banks decorated by authors, artists and celebrities! The auction is going so well that they decided to donate part of the money raised to Binc to help all booksellers across the country. If you are interested in bidding on a pig, check out the Bidding Owl auction site.

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That evening, the whole SiBA group ventured out to Tybee Island via trolley for a party at author Mary Kay Andrews island home, Ebbtide. There was a ton of delicious food to eat from her soon to be released Beach Party Cookbook, and everyone enjoyed it in her simply delightful island home. Many thanks to Mary Kay and her team for their southern hospitality.

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Friday Bookseller Education Sessions

Early Friday morning, booksellers gathered for breakfast and the SIBA Annual Meeting before heading into education sessions for the majority of the day. Education sessions ranged from southern women sharing what they’d learned during their time in the book business to an update from the ABA on The New Localism Data first shared at Winter Institute 11. After the education sessions, everyone greeted new writers who have books coming out in the first half of 2017 during the 180 Days Party, a SIBA tradition. The SIBA Supper showcased four excellent authors over dinner, and the Shoe Burning Show offered Spoken Word artists and Southern Soul Music to a tired but happy bookselling crowd.

The Show Gets Underway With Ice Cream

Saturday saw the opening of the trade show floor – split into 2 sections – where booksellers flocked to the Binc table after 3:00pm for ice cream treats. SIBA members stepped up back in May and took the 20 for 20 fundraising challenge and won the award for the most participants from any Indie bookselling association during Binc’s spring fundraiser. As a thank you for such huge support, Binc treated the crowd to ice cream in the afternoon.

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Celebration Sunday

This year’s theme for SIBA was “Savannah by the Sea” and in honor of that theme Binc hosted a fundraiser on the show floor on Sunday morning where participants purchased a blinking Sea Turtle pin for $20, in honor of Binc’s 20th anniversary. At the end of the show everyone played the game Heads or Tails, either picking “heads” or “tails”, then Kathy flipped a coin and if their choice was correct, a they could move to the next round.

Congratulations to Ruth Breiphol from The Book Seller in Birmingham, AL for correctly picking heads or tails and winning the grand prize of $500! Thank you to everyone who purchased a Sea Turtle pin and to everyone who sold them. A special thank you to our sponsor for the event, University of North Carolina Press who donated funds to pay for the fundraiser, ensuring that all the money raised would go directly to helping Binc support booksellers. We are happy to report that Binc raised just shy of $2,000 from the fundraiser.

Once again, Wanda Jewell and her team did an excellent job organizing and running the show and all of the events. It was a great kick-off to the season. We are excited to see y’all again next year in New Orleans!

What We All Can Do to Help Binc Help Booksellers

Help Binc help booksellers

Individuals and stores can easily contribute directly to Binc, which has a 20 for 20 Challenge, encouraging donors to give at least $20 and make it a monthly, automatic deduction.

Helping Binc Help Booksellers

Several companies have helped Binc raise funds in various ways. At Books Inc., which has 11 stores in the San Francisco Bay area, employees can contribute to Binc through payroll deductions, which are matched by Books Inc. up to $100 per employee per year. Books Inc. director of operations Andy Perham noted that the deduction program was “super easy to set up through our payroll processor.”

Ken White originally brought Binc to the attention of Books Inc. managers. Perham remembered, “We were all immediately impressed by Binc’s mission and have been even more impressed in the subsequent years as we’ve seen what Binc is able to do both in providing financial assistance to booksellers experiencing a financial crisis and in the scholarships they are able to provide.”

Similarly, Sourcebooks partnered with Binc for its annual holiday drive: each time a Sourcebooks employee made a donation to Binc, the company matched that donation, and then one of Binc’s donation partners also matched the contribution. Sourcebooks national sales manager Heidi Weiland commented: “We were thrilled to participate, and based on the response we received in 2015, we will absolutely partner with Binc again in 2016. We can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together!”

Weiland noted that in working regularly with independent bookstores, “I have found it to be a universal truth that booksellers are constantly assisting their customers, community members, friends and family with issues outside the realm of books and reading, making a huge impact in their community. These same booksellers are often reluctant to ask for help when they are the ones in need of assistance. This is why Binc is so crucial. Whether they find out about a bookseller’s need through industry professionals, bookstore patrons or community leaders, Binc is there and ready to help.”

A Unique Way to Fund-raise For Binc

Chuck Robinson, co-owner of Village Books, Bellingham and Lynden, Wash., raised money in an unusual way: in a bike ride last year from Washington to Illinois for his 50th high school reunion, he decided to raise money for three communities important to him. One was his home community of Bellingham, the second the community in Illinois where he grew up, and the third was “my community of booksellers all across the country,” he said. “I took pledges for foundations that represent each of these communities, including Binc. By the beginning of November, Binc had collected more than $6,700 from those pledges.

He added: “Many of those dollars came from others in the bookselling and publishing communities, but many came from folks in Bellingham and elsewhere who value books, bookstores, and the people who work in them. I would urge everyone who shares those values to contribute in some way to Binc. I guarantee that you, too, will be happier.”

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.

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.