Ingram Content Group Talks with Pam About How Binc Helps Booksellers

Published with permission from Ingram Content Group. Many thanks to Ingram for their continued support of Binc and our mission to help booksellers across the nation.

Everyone impacts the world through books. Whether it’s the bookstore manager or the librarian who helps a kid select his or her first book, the book publishing industry is supported by people just like you.

Ingram Q & A

When life happens, it’s important to support our peers when times get tough. Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) provides financial assistance to booksellers in need. We recently spoke with Pamela French, Binc’s Executive Director, to find out more about their history and what’s important to them when it comes to helping booksellers in need.

Q: How did the Binc Foundation start?

A: The idea was planted when booksellers on one side of the country were impacted by a natural disaster, and their co-workers wanted to help them. Borders employees and executives set out to create a non-profit organization focused on helping each other.

Over the years, as the Foundation helped more and more booksellers it became a way for all Borders employees to get involved through events, fundraising, and volunteering. After Borders liquidated in 2012, the Foundation expanded to help all booksellers across the nation. We work with supportive partners like Ingram, the American Booksellers Association, and all the regional book associations to let booksellers know Binc is here to help.

This year, the Foundation celebrates 20 years of helping booksellers! More than 7,000 booksellers and their families have received just over $6M in support from Binc.

Q: What’s the importance of helping those in the book industry?

A: People get into the book industry out of a passion and love for reading, writing and sharing ideas. The Binc Foundation safety net strengthens the book industry by allowing book people to continue the work they love.

Q: What’s your history with books and their impact?

A: I’m fortunate to have always had books in my life. From a young age, I remember my parents reading to me and spending time every evening reading their own books. It was a natural path to take when I graduate from college. I answered an ad in a newspaper for a manager-in-training at Waldenbooks in Salt Lake City. I, then, spent the next 23 years on the retail side of the industry with Waldenbooks, Brentano’s, and then Borders.

Q: What has been your most memorable fundraiser?

A: One of the most memorable was a fall fundraising Zombie Apocalypse event that took place on Halloween weekend. The event was held at a brewing company complete with beer tasting and a silent auction. We even had a local dance troupe performed the dance from Thriller! They were dressed as zombie ballerinas and did an outstanding performance. It was very memorable and got a wide range of people involved

Q: What has been Binc’s proudest moment?

A: There are two that really stick out. The first was while I was visiting family in West Virginia. After three years of working to raise awareness about the Binc Foundation across the country, I walked into a bookstore to let them know about Binc. Before I even said a word the bookseller saw my card and the Binc logo and said, “Hey, I know about the Foundation.” It was one of those moments that you work towards and when it happens you know the hard work has paid off because booksellers know they can find help when they face a financial crisis.

Additionally, a dream come true moment happened this year when Ann Patchett enthusiastically agreed to be the inaugural Binc Ambassador. And she brought James Patterson on board as co-ambassador. It all came together this summer, and some days, it still feels like a dream. It’s an indication that the hard work of the volunteers, board members, store owners, and staff has paid off. More booksellers will learn about Binc not only when they need help, but if they want to give help too.

Q: How can someone get involved? What are the different committees someone can join?

A: Anyone interested in helping booksellers can get involved by joining a committee. The committees focus on programs, finance, marketing, and fundraising. We are always looking to expand our expertise within the book industry, and joining one of our committees is a great way to help. Also, if someone is interested in board service I’d love to talk with them. We are currently looking to add a lawyer and a store owner to our board.

And, of course, becoming a donor is another way to get involved and help ensure the Foundation is around for another 20 years.

Q: Last year, you gave 27 students a total of $109,000 in scholarships to fund their education. What’s the power of these scholarships for students?

A: The higher education scholarships give students the freedom to focus on their studies without worrying about where the money will come from to pay tuition or student loans. We have gotten many wonderful thank you notes from recipients saying how Binc’s scholarship has helped them achieve their career goals. Also, we’ve heard from family members about how a scholarship for their dependent helped them remain employed at their bookstore job while sending their child to college.

In one specific situation, a bookseller from Idaho was attending college to become a primary school teacher. Binc was able to assist with his final year of college, giving financial relief to his growing and financially stressed family. Binc’s scholarship helped produce one of the few male primary school teachers in the area, and this former bookseller, is now molding readers of the future and instilling a love of reading and books in children.

Q: What are Binc’s goals for the next five years? How will the organization grow to support our book community?

A: We spent that past four years not only spreading the word that the Foundation is here to help, but also working to determine if there was a longer term need for Binc. Through the number of grant requests, survey feedback, and overall interest we have determined that yes, there is a need for the Foundation’s services.

Our strategic framework for the next five years includes:

  • Awareness of and pride in the role Binc plays in helping to create a healthy and diverse bookstore community. Every bookstore and employee across the country knows about Binc and takes personal pride in and ownership of Binc as “my Foundation.”
  • Financially sustained by the industry; including publishers, distributors, wholesalers, authors, bookstores, and the public.
  • Strong and meaningful partnerships with the industry leaders.
  • Build on our program support to continue to meet the needs of the industry.

Want to get involved with Binc like we have? Find out how you can help support booksellers, become a Binc Advocate or strengthen a bookseller’s safety net with a donation.

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.

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.

Binc: Past Accomplishments, Future Goals

BINCLogo-20th-01The accomplishments of the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation are striking: since its creation in 1996, Binc has given more than $5.9 million in scholarships and financial assistance grants to more than 6,900 bookstore employees and their dependents. But this is only the start: the Foundation continues to grow, spreading the word about its generous and beneficial work and expanding fundraising to ensure a sustainable future. As it looks ahead, it’s also considering ways to help more people in the book industry.

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What is Homelessness?

3 housesHomelessness is defined by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as an individual or family lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is either a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill); or a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

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Chuck Robinson is Ready to Ride

chuck's ride logo

Binc is thrilled to be mentioned in the bookselling industry newsletter Shelf Awareness today, in relation to bookseller Chuck Robinson’s 2,400 mile fundraising bike ride across the country to attend his 50th high school reunion. He is generously pledging $1 per mile to Binc as a fundraiser during his ride. You can make a pledge to Binc on Chuck’s 2,400 Mile Fundraiser Page.

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Insuring the Well-Being of Bookstores and Booksellers

campaign to sustain logo

The executive director of SIBA, Wanda Jewell, explains why she supports Binc, and why all of us should join her

 

For nearly 20 years, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) has served as booksellers’ safety net, providing short-term financial support for booksellers (and their families) when they face an unexpected financial hardship.

Binc’s first assistance grant was given to a single mother struggling to pay her bills almost 20 years ago. Since that modest grant of $323, the level of assistance has grown, and the average grant today is more than $1,500. Whether the need arises from a natural disaster, serious medical expenses, domestic violence, the threat of eviction, or loss of utilities or household income, Binc works with each bookseller to return to a state of financial equilibrium.

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Visiting Bookstores? Help Binc Spread the Word

help spread the word

Are you a publisher’s sales rep, sidelines provider, author, or a book lover who regularly visits bookstores?

If you are, you can help Binc spread the word to booksellers about the assistance available from the Foundation. In the past three years, our staff, board & committee members, and supporters have personally visited more than100 bookstores. We can use your help reaching even more bookstores across the country! We know for a fact that a personal visit to a bookstore improves the odds that their employees will take advantage of our services. We realize that the help we provide can seem like it is too-good-to-be-true, that is where corroboration by a real person comes in to play. The value of having our message reinforced by publishers, industry representatives, authors and supporters is priceless.

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