Registered Agents: Not as flashy as Bond, but just as important!

As a federally designated 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Book Industry Charitable Foundation is required to register in nearly every state where we plan to raise funds. For the record, as of today, that number is 43. The registration could be with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Consumer Affairs Department, the Department of Licensing or any number of other official offices. In a number of cases this is a simple single page form with contact and financial information about Binc. In most states, however, registration requires several forms plus supporting documentation and of course a fee be submitted. There are even a few states that require us to be registered with multiple departments!

In 18 states we are required to have a “registered agent” residing in the state. The stated purpose of the RA is to receive any legal mail addressed to the Foundation, although we have never known of a registered agent ever receiving anything. None the less, the registration forms are not considered complete unless these lines are filled in.

Here is where you can help. If you live in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont or Wyoming, we need your help. Please contact Binc at to be your state’s registered agent. It’s critical to Binc, it’s super easy and think how impressive it will look on your resume.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: On the Road with Binc

For six weeks in September and October, one or all of Binc’s three person staff was on the road visiting the regional conferences sponsored by the Independent Bookseller Associations. Pam, Alison and Kit made the most of this chance to meet and greet booksellers across the country. Spreading Binc’s message of the assistance programs available directly to the booksellers was an invaluable opportunity and the warm reception we received was heartening.

The bookstore employees we met were pleased to hear of the financial assistance and scholarships that are available to them through the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. A few knew of the existence of the Foundation, but to most it was a new and welcome announcement. If you didn’t get a chance to meet us on the road, please contact us anytime to discover how the Binc Foundation can be of assistance.

As a special surprise, at the Heartland Fall Forum (the combined GLIBA and MIBA conference) Binc was the designated recipient of the proceeds from their annual silent auction. As a result of some very active bidding $3969 was raised to assist with the emergency needs of bookstore employees across the country. Thank you to all the donors and bidders!

Binc would like to thank the executive directors, Wanda Jewell from SIBA, Laura Ayrey from MPIBA, Eileen Dengler from NAIBA, Steve Fischer from NEIBA, Carrie Orby from MIBA, Deb Leonard from GLIBA, Hut Landon from NCIBA and Thom Chambliss from PNBA for their hospitality and support.

Relief for booksellers in need

Reposted from Melville House. Written by Dustin Kurtz.

In the aftermath of disasters like Hurricane Sandy, it’s easy and common for the parts of the internet which we and our readers frequent to make much of the loss of books. We’re raised from a very young age to think of books as sacred, their preservation a desperate cause. When books are destroyed, the reaction is akin to mourning. Witness the outcry over books destroyed at Printed Matter or powerHouse Arena here in New York City this past week, or Bartleby’s Books in Vermont (a store dear to our heart for obvious reasons) during Tropical Storm Irene last year. See also the enormous popularity of our recent post about how to salvage water-damaged books.

I wouldn’t call that reaction misplaced, but I think it does tend to steal attention from other dire effects of natural disasters, and that is on the booksellers themselves. For stores along the entire Eastern seaboard, this has been a week of diminished or no sales. Stores in downtown Manhattan like Three Lives, McNally Jackson or the Mysterious Bookshop only regained power on Saturday. The fantastic Wachtung Booksellers in New Jersey is still without. In almost every case, this will mean a period without pay for the booksellers that make those stores what they are. Bookselling in this country is an underpaid profession, one with no opportunity to build personal or institutional safety nets. For booksellers, like much of the modern service industry, the loss of a week’s pay can trigger a disastrous spiral.

I thought it appropriate then, in the wake of Sandy, to take a moment to highlight one foundation that is working to help booksellers when disasters, wet and windy or otherwise, make lives difficult. The Book Industry Charitable Foundation offers small grants specifically for booksellers, meant chiefly to “stabilize the household finances so that an emergency situation does not overwhelm the household and spiral into a more extreme financial need” according to executive director Pamela French. Since early October, BINC has begun partnering with the American Booksellers Association to offer aid to their member stores. I spoke with Alison Foreman of the Foundation last week about her organization and it’s role in cases like the wake of Sandy.

DK: The foundation was started by Borders employees and founders back in 1995. Was it meant from the start to be open to booksellers everywhere, or was it envisioned as a Borders-specific endeavor?

Alison Foreman: The Borders Foundation was started in 1996 by a group of Borders employees at the corporate office when a store manager on the West coast reach out to them on behalf of their employee who was experiencing an extreme financial hardship as a result of a loss of household income due to divorce/separation. That very first grant was $323 and made a big difference for the bookstore employee and their family.

Following the first grant a group of dedicated volunteers formed a committee to facilitate the processing of filing the paperwork to have the Borders Group Foundation recognized by the state of Michigan and nationally as a 501(c)3 charitable organization. The idea or notion was that the Foundation would operate as a way for employees to reach out and help each other and be the heart of Borders. Over the fifteen years that BGF operated many employees gave to the organization and received support from the Foundation either via the financial assistance program, scholarship, financial education or bereavement outreach.

The Borders Group Foundation was created to be an organization dedicated to Borders employee helping Borders employee. The original mission did not focus outside of the Borders organization. However, when Borders went into liquidation the board of the Foundation began the process to review the long term strategic options of what might be next for the charity. What came out of the research and strategic planning with the help of another industry charity named the Two Ten Foundation (shoe industry charity) was that the board and many of our supporters wanted the Foundation to continue, but with an expanded mission. The vision was to expand and offer our programs to help all booksellers in the industry as the Book Industry Charitable Foundation.

DK: Do the majority of your donations come from booksellers, whether individual or companies, or are publishers involved as well?

AF: Originally, as BGF, the majority of donations came from Borders employees with a company match of 50 cents to the dollar (up until 2009). Additionally, over the years we have received donations from publishers and other vendors connected to the industry.

Now, as the Binc Foundation we receive donations from many Borders alumni, support from vendors and from partners like the ABA. We are just beginning to received donations from book industry employees.

Our goal in the coming year is to gain further support from the industry through awareness and having booksellers get involved with us through volunteerism. We would love to have booksellers and publishers volunteer as an ambassador for Binc, serve on a committee and possibly even add a few new board members to our organization. And through expanding our volunteers and improving awareness we hope to increase donations as booksellers see us in action.

DK: Perhaps the most pertinent question—do you tend to see an upswing in requests for assistance after events like Sandy this year or Irene last? Or is it most often a result of everyday individual disasters?

AF: You are correct we generally see an upswing in requests and inquiries when events like Sandy occur. Not only do we receive requests for emergency hardship support but we also receive requests from booksellers after the event has occurred. Some booksellers may find their household needs help in the aftermath with repairs or with essential household expenses (like rent or mortgage) if a family member was unable to work for an extended period due to the disaster and that results in extreme financial hardship or burden.

Booksellers under financial hardship, whether because of lost wages in the aftermath of the hurricane or for disasters of a more personal scale, are urged to contact the foundation here.

Dustin Kurtz is a marketing manager at Melville House, a former bookseller for McNally Jackson and, too often, a wiseacre.

6 Great Zombie Reads to Inspire you for the Binc Foundation Zombie Apocalypse!

Written By: Dane Jackson

October is my favorite month of the year for many reasons, the main one being people’s willingness to get scared. As a fan of the horror genre (and the last Borders Horror Buyer), October is especially important to me because I like to recommend books to folks that just may make it hard for them to fall asleep at night. Here’s a list of some great reads to get you through October. Since the Binc Foundation’s Fall Fundraiser theme is Zombie Apocalypse!, I decided to stick with great zombie reads. Enjoy!

6) Feed – Mira Grant: Mira Grant is the name urban fantasy writer Seanan McGuire uses when she wrote her Newsflesh zombie trilogy. With Feed, Grant gives us a world where everyone has the zombie virus and will reanimate upon death. Because of that, bodies need to be dealt with pretty quickly after someone dies. This story follows two bloggers who are covering a presidential race, but they find out someone is trying to assassinate the senator using zombies. At its core, Feed is a criticism of mainstream media and the news.

5) Dead of Night – Jonathan Maberry: A serial killer is injected with an experimental serum that is supposed to keep his mind conscious while his body rots away into nothing. It’s the ultimate death penalty and is being tested as a bioweapon for the military, but something goes wrong. Before he can be buried, the killer wakes up with a serious hunger. Dead of Night is filled with lots of gore, action, and military and government conspiracies…key elements to a great zombie novel. Maberry also does a great job developing the human characters and the science behind the zombie infections. It’s a very fast read that makes you want more!

4) Double Dead – Chuck Wendig: Here’s another one of those “why didn’t I think of that” novels. In Double Dead, Wendig introduces us to Coburn, a vampire with a bad attitude who just happens to wake up in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. With his food supply drying out, he’s forced to become the protector of a group of survivors as they make their way West. The book is smart, clever, vulgar, and incredibly gory. It’s also a lot of fun to read.

3) The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor – Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga: If you’re a fan of the comic series or the TV Show, this should be required reading. The Rise of the Governor is Kirkman’s first novel and it tells the story of one of the worst (best?) bad guys in all of comic history…The Governor. This novel is filled with some genuine scares that gave me nightmares and it tells an important backstory to the character who is sure to be one of the focal points of the upcoming season of The Walking Dead.

2) Zone One – Colson Whitehead: Colson Whitehead was the last person I expected to write a zombie novel, but after reading Zone One, I’m glad he did. His novel takes place in Manhattan after the apocalypse as society is trying to rebuild. We follow Mark Spitz around, who is on a team that has the job of making sure building are clear of zombies so the rebuilding can begin. We see glimpses of the apocalypse through Spitz in the form of flashbacks, and through that, Whitehead explores the notion of PASD – Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder. I like this novel so much because it focuses more on the human element over the zombie element.

1) World War Z – Max Brooks: This is the gold standard of zombie fiction. Every zombie novel I read is always judged against World War Z. I realize that it’s not fair to those other books, but that’s just the way it is. Told in the form of an oral history, Max Brooks inserts himself in the story as a journalist trying to get the complete story of the Zombie War from all of the survivors. This is my go-to recommendation for just about anyone, and especially for a list of zombies. If you only read one book on this list this month, make sure it’s World War Z.

Now that you have 6 “scary good” recommendation to learn more about Zombies, we hope you will join the Binc Foundation on Saturday October 27th, 2012 at the Arbor Brewing Company to survive the Zombie Apocalypse!

About Dane Jackson: I’m an aspiring author. I’m currently a freelance entertainment journalist, as well as a social media guru – currently helping independent retailers across the nation with promoting their stores.

Zombie Apocalypse!

A beer-tasting event is scheduled for October 27, 2012 at Arbor Brewing Company in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Join friends and supporters, as we taste the variety of brews on tap at this popular downtown gathering place. Enjoy beer and snacks, play some darts, visit with friends, find out what is “brewing” with the Foundation and even win a prize! Registration details: General admission tickets $30 & VIP tickets $100 ($31 and $104 if ordered on-line due to processing fees). Event sponsorships range from $250-$5,000.

A frighteningly fun event!
A frighteningly fun event!