Binc Announces Garth Stein as Author Leadership Circle Campaign Chair

Ann Arbor, MI ­– Binc announced today that Garth Stein has been named Author Leadership Circle Campaign Chair. Along with Binc co-ambassadors Ann Patchett and James Patterson, Stein will help Binc become sustainable so that the foundation can continue to fulfill their mission of providing a financial safety net for booksellers for years to come.

On why Stein is joining Binc, he said, “Binc is an essential organization that supports those who have always supported writers the most: booksellers. It is important for us, as authors, to reciprocate by supporting our compatriots in the literary ecosphere. I am excited to bring awareness of Binc’s mission to my author friends; booksellers are our family, and family is the most important relationship of all.”

Stein is the author of The Art of Racing in the Rain (Harper)—which has sold more than 6 million copies, been translated into 35 languages, and spent more than three years on the New York Times bestseller list. He has also written A Sudden Light (Simon & Schuster), How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets (Soho Press), Raven Stole the Moon (Pocket Star Books), and four picture books for childrenHis new role at Binc will focus on increasing awareness and strengthening the booksellers’ safety net through securing financial commitments from fellow writers.

Kathy Bartson, Binc’s Director of Development, commented, “Garth is so well positioned in the industry and he understands how we each have a role to play in sustaining the organization that strengthens the book industry by protecting booksellers. He’s a perfect fit for Author Leadership Circle Campaign Chair.”
Leadership Circle authors (committed contributions in 2019) also include Ann Patchett, James Patterson, Judy Blume & George Cooper, Leigh Bardugo, Gregory Maguire, Aimee Cabo Nikolov, Andrea Thome, Jessica Powell, Jonathan F. Putnam, Amor Towles, Gabrielle Zevin, Jeff Kinney, Christopher M. Finan, and Susan Sands.

Pam French, Binc Executive Director, said, “We are delighted to welcome Garth Stein as our inaugural Author Leadership Circle Campaign Chair and are eager to welcome more authors to our incredible community of supporters. We are grateful for all of our author and illustrator supporters—for their generosity, industry leadership, and creativity. Writers and their publishers are strengthening the booksellers’ safety net through virtual author visits, royalty donations, volunteering their time, decorating piggy banks, and more. It couldn’t be a better time to welcome Garth Stein to Binc. We are seeing an increased need for assistance and need a corresponding increase in support, so booksellers will continue to have a place to call when they need help.”

Over the past year, authors have developed innovative ways to support the booksellers’ safety net. Former Google executive Jessica Powell is donating print royalties from her new book The Big Disruption: A Totally Fictional but Essentially True Silicon Valley Story (Medium). Author of Love is the Answer, God is the Cure (Inspirational Books), Aimee Cabo Nikolov with her publisher, donated $5 for every copy of the book sold through April 30th. For a minimum donation of $100 to Binc Gabrielle Zevin, author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (Algonquin Books) will speak to book clubs, schools, and libraries for a half hour via Skype or phone. Jeff Kinney, author of the series Diary of a Wimpy Kid and owner of the independent bookshop An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Café, hosted a gameshow-style trivia fundraiser on the Friday before Independent Bookstore Day at An Unlikely Story.

Writer, Binc supporter and volunteer, and author Jonathan F. Putnam wrote to Binc saying, “When I first learned of Binc and its mission, I was immediately drawn to the organization and wanted to know how I could help. I’m very proud that Binc has appointed me to its Finance and Governance Committee as one of the first authors to serve on the organization’s oversight committees.” On a recent book tour to promote his new book Final Resting Place: A Lincoln and Speed Mystery (Crooked Lane Books)Putnam discussed Binc with booksellers and audience members at each stop on his tour. He also donated a generous portion of his royalties to Binc which his publisher matched.

On why #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo donates to Binc she wrote, “At every stage of my life, I’ve benefited from the work booksellers do and the communities they build. Donating to Binc gives me a chance to turn my gratitude into something worthwhile and to make sure readers know there’s an easy way to make sure their local booksellers thrive.” Bardugo’s publisher, Macmillan Publishers, matched her generous donation.

Anyone interested in learning more about contributing to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation can contact Kathy Bartson at 734-471-0201 or

Binc’s Qualifying Events Explained

A qualifying event can often be easily explained. It’s easy to understand how a serious medical could create an overwhelming financial hardship for a bookseller. Some of the other qualifying events are more complex. In a series of blog posts (with accompanying downloadable posters) we will dig deeper into a number of qualifying events to explore the many ways Binc can help booksellers in times of need.

Loss of Household Income Downloadable Poster

Loss of Household Income

Easily the most complex of Binc’s qualifying events is the Loss of Household Income category. This category encompasses a variety of personal events that can lead to household financial hardship, preventing the bookseller from being able to pay essential expenses. Let’s explore examples of unexpected situations that could lead a bookseller to apply for assistance under Loss of Household Income.Childcare or Eldercare

  • A bookseller is the parent or legal guardian of a child or the primary caregiver for a parent or relative in their household.
  • An emergency need arose for child or elder care (i.e. weather-related school closing, illness of child or elder).
  • 50% or more of the bookseller’s scheduled weekly income was lost due to the emergency.

Death in the household

  • A bookseller experiences the sudden death of a wage earner residing in their household.


  • The bookseller or another wage earner in the household experiences illness or injury that requires them to be off work for a prolonged period of time.

Disruption of business

  • A store is forced to close unexpectedly due to disaster or severe weather.
  • 50% or more of the bookseller’s scheduled weekly income was lost due to the emergency.

Divorce or separation

  • A bookseller’s spouse or partner leaves the household and does not provide financial support due to divorce or separation.
  • A bookseller experiences the loss of court-mandated child support.
  • In some circumstances, the unexpected loss of a roommate can qualify for assistance.

Job loss of partner or spouse

  • A bookseller’s spouse or partner loses their job through no fault of their own.
  • The bookseller has a second job and it is lost through no fault of their own.
    • The loss of a bookseller’s job at the bookstore does not qualify.

For any application to the Binc Foundation the following criteria apply:

  • The declared loss of income must cause the bookseller to be financially unable to pay essential household expenses.
  • In many instances, up to three months essential expenses may be provided if there is sufficient evidence that financial equilibrium can be achieved during that time.

If you are still wondering if your circumstances apply – call or email. Binc 866-733-9064 or

Burying a Loved One

Of all the unexpected expenses a bookseller faces, funerals can be one of the toughest to find help paying for. There is little public assistance available to help loved ones afford the financial burden of a funeral. Whether a bookseller is dealing with the loss of a child, spouse, parent, or sibling – they often don’t have enough savings to meet the expenses of a funeral. Because of the emotional stress, funeral expense requests are some of the most emotional requests for assistance that we receive at Binc.

Today, the average North American traditional funeral costs between $7,000 and $10,000. This price range includes services, burial in a cemetery, and installation of a headstone. While this is the average, funeral costs can vary widely depending on location. Even a simple cremation can cost $800 – $1,000, which is still an amount beyond the means of many booksellers.

Resources such as the FTC Funeral Rule can help keep costs down by making it possible for you to choose only those services you want, whether you are making arrangements when a death occurs or in advance. The Rule allows you to compare prices among funeral homes and makes it possible for you to select the arrangements you want at the facility you use.

There is a very limited amount of government assistance available, with one-time payments of $255 from Social Security, or $300 – $600 from the Veterans Administration. Which is obviously not enough to cover all of the expenses.

Paying funeral expenses from an estate (should one exist) presents its own set of obstacles. Funeral expenses can be paid with assets from an estate, but because of the legal process in most states, the funds will not be available immediately when needed. Most funeral homes require payment at the time that funeral services are provided, this often means that someone will need to cover the expenses up front and then be reimbursed from the estate. Again, this creates a problem for a bookseller living on a tight budget.

A U.S. News & World Report article stated that affording funeral expenses is a serious problem that seems to have grown worse over the years and one that spiked during the recession. So what does one do if there is no money for a funeral? If you lack the funding for a funeral, here’s what some experts say your options are.

  • CrowdFunding – GoFundMe, one of the largest fund-raising sites, says that 13% of its campaigns created in 2017 were described as memorials, which include funerals and are one of the company’s fastest-growing categories.
  • Local churches sometimes have funds set aside to help with funerals.
  • Some states have limited assistance available. Assistance for burial or cremation and the criteria for eligibility vary widely from state to state.
  • If you are a bookseller, and you are financially responsible for the funeral expenses of a family member, you can apply to the Binc Foundation for assistance.
    • Binc may be able to help with an assistance grant to cover basic burial expenses.
    • Binc can offer a Matching Grant of up to $2,000 to match funds collected through a GoFundMe or similar campaign used to raise funds for funeral expenses.

The loss of a loved one is traumatic enough, at Binc we want to help keep debt from making the situation even worse.

Binc Announces 2019 Share the Good Fundraising Campaign

We are kicking off their annual spring fundraising drive on April 2. The Share the Good campaign will again promote becoming a monthly sustaining donor. The goal of the campaign is to encourage fifty booklovers from across the country to join the 222 booksellers, booklovers, and bookstores who are current monthly sustaining donors. “No amount is too small,” said executive director, Pam French. “Donations from $5 to $100 a month add up when we give together as a community to help booksellers in need.

“We depend on our sustaining donors to keep the bookseller’s safety net strong. As a community, current sustaining donors help two booksellers through medical emergencies and natural disasters every month of the year,” French said. “The aim of our Share the Good campaign is to be able to help more booksellers in need every month. We’ve already seen that the need for assistance is growing this year, which means the support for the booksellers’ safety net needs to grow too.”

The regional independent bookseller associations are all getting involved in the April campaign. Binc is offering a celebratory ice cream social to the region which has the most new sustaining donors who sign up in April. Those who are already sustaining donors can increase their monthly donation to help their region win the contest. It was a tough competition in 2018 with both NEIBA and SIBA earning the ice cream party at their fall trade show. NAIBA with their eye on the prize this year, has already begun promoting the campaign to its member stores. In a recent newsletter they wrote, “While [an ice cream social] is fun, it is more rewarding to know that any amount of money you donate each month adds up to life-saving help for a bookseller.”

Binc Conducts Third Industry Survey

In 2014 and again in 2016 Binc conducted a survey of the book industry to gauge awareness of the services provided by Binc to booksellers and how Binc is doing in fulfilling its mission. The findings from these surveys identified additional circumstances where booksellers needed help. And as a result, Binc expanded its programs to include matching grantshomelessness preventionutility shut-off prevention, and store disaster recovery assistance. These programs, which grew directly from survey responses, have since provided many booksellers a path to stabilizing their households and bookstore finances after a disaster or personal hardship.

“Binc is here to serve booksellers, and with the feedback we receive from them and industry professionals through our survey, we become better equipped to act on our mission—which is providing a financial safety net for booksellers,” said Executive Director Pam French. “We cannot overstate how much we value the feedback we receive, so I encourage everyone to participate in this year’s survey. Binc is your foundation and we want to hear from you so we can better serve your needs.”

Because of the continued growth and change of the bookselling industry and of the Foundation, it is time to hear from booksellers about what they want and need from this organization that is dedicated to helping them. This survey will provide valuable insight into what booksellers’ current needs and experiences are.

Binc’s 2019 Survey will be open from March 25th through April 6th and will take under ten minutes to complete. Participants will be eligible to win a grand prize of a $200 gift card to the indie bookstore of their choice or one of four (4) $50 American Express Gift Cards.

The results of the survey will be released in June 2019.

All book industry professionals (publishers, booksellers, store owners, authors, and book lovers) are invited to complete the survey today.