The Binc Foundation and Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, announced today that the Blue Manatee Literacy Project and Bookstore in Cincinnati, Ohio has been awarded the inaugural Indies with Impact prize. Through this award, Penguin Random House recognizes, supports, and strengthens the connections bookstores have with their neighbors by providing funding for the winner’s community-based initiative.
Binc received applications from bookstores large, small, newly established, and long-time community anchors from all over the United States. Each applicant demonstrated a strong commitment to their neighborhoods. Project proposals promoted book access for underserved communities, community-building work through adult literacy programs, and a variety of reading programs that serve children and teens. The selection committee, made up of industry professionals from Penguin Random House and the Binc Foundation’s Program Committee, selected the Blue Manatee Literacy Project and Bookstore through an impartial, rigorous review process in a pool of excellent applications.
“Supporting independent bookstores is at the heart of the mission of book publishing. Reaching local communities is central to everything we do at Penguin Random House. We are thrilled to congratulate Blue Manatee Literacy Project and Bookstore on receiving this inaugural award and look forward to seeing the success of their initiative,” said Jaci Updike, President of Sales at Penguin Random House.
Pam French, Binc Executive Director said, “This unique collaboration with Penguin Random House will give The Blue Manatee Literacy Project and Bookstore funds to build and grow their program working with students in Cincinnati Public Schools. We are grateful for this opportunity to work with Penguin Random House on Indies with Impact, because of how the prize honors, recognizes and supports the vital role bookstores play in their communities.”
On learning their program had been chosen, Amanda Kranias, Director of the Blue Manatee Literacy Project and Bookstore told Binc, “[This] grant will accelerate the implementation of our Near-Peer mentoring program to a larger group of students, building relationships that boost reading confidence and leadership skills.”
The Near-Peer Mentoring program is a partnership with Cincinnati Public Schools, through which middle-school-aged mentors provide basic reading instruction and skill development to younger readers. The Blue Manatee Literacy Project and Bookstore will supply books to participating students in three to four public elementary and middle schools, and as the program grows, other logistical support to students from public schools across Cincinnati. By creating a project that brings together experts to build literacy programming and providing the underserved readers with the materials needed to participate in the program, the Blue Manatee Literacy Project and Bookstore is setting young readers up for success.
In 2018 over 200 bookstores participated in publisher AdventureKEEN’s Shop Local Live Local initiative. As part of the program, AdventureKEEN donated 3% of sales back to the participating bookshops and 3% of sales to Binc, helping booksellers across the country. At the ABA’s 14th annual Winter Institute AdventureKEEN President, Richard Hunt, presented our Executive Director, Pam French, with the check. Thanks to all the participating stores and to AdventureKEEN for this wonderful initiative!
For an independent publisher like AdventureKEEN, the priority list goes like this: payroll, royalties, rent, and printer invoices. As our Covington KY office sits above, and is tied by a heartbeat to the independent bookstore on the first floor, we know that the priority list of an indie bookseller goes like this: payroll, rent, and publishers/distributors invoices. Complementary halves of the bookselling whole, indie booksellers and publishers prop ourselves up with gumption and remind ourselves that we’re doing important work for our community, literacy, and readers of all ages, over and above the bottom line.
Because we know emotionally and financially the operational risk and intrinsic rewards of promoting books in today’s world, staff always comes first. Without them, we simply couldn’t serve our customers. So when the health and well-being of a store or staff person is challenged, Binc responds immediately. This is why we are so grateful for the opportunity to donate to Binc and individually to the 250+ independent bookstores who are part of AdventureKEEN’s SHOP LOCAL, LIVE LOCAL program. This “beginning of a beautiful friendship” began in 2017 and we’re looking forward to making an even bigger donation in 2019. We appreciate Pam, Kathy, Kit et. al. at Binc for the lifesaving work they do, as well as every indie bookstores who took part in our SHOP LOCAL, LIVE LOCAL program that benefits booksellers and their families all across America. Thanks too to the great people at PGW and Ingram who support our mission to help with their administrative, marketing and sales efforts.
—Richard Hunt | President AdventureKEEN
Binc Executive Director accepts a donation from AdventureKEEN President Richard Hunt at the 14th Winter Institute in Albuquerque, NM.
We had a tremendous and productive time in New York for BookExpo 2018.
We got to see so many wonderful book industry friends. Booksellers, authors, publishers, agents and more. We even got to meet our friends from HumbleBundle who recently partnered with Chronicle Book for a bundle to support Binc!
This was our first year hosting Drinks With Binc on-site during BookExpo and it was incredible! Thanks to our friends at BookExpo and Baker and Taylor and the Javits Center we had a great view.
But the view was nothing compared to seeing a comprehensive slice of the book industry brought together by a common cause: protecting the bookseller’s safety net!
We had a great time at our in-person board meeting in early May. The Binc board has more than 360 years of combined book industry experience and most of their amazing work for the Foundation is done remotely. When the opportunity for them to work face-to-face presents itself, incredible things happen.
Before the official meeting, board members visited Ann Arbor bookstores and met with some local book industry supporters for Drinks with Binc.
The in-person meeting featured a brief overview of how the board helped Binc and booksellers through an unprecedented year in 2017. Board members were crucial in fundraising and awareness efforts following a relentless series of natural disasters.
In addition to discussing how the bookseller’s safety net performed in 2017, the board looked to the future of the foundation in 2018 and beyond.
One of the events our board is most excited about is the return of the Bank on Booksellers auction later this year. Bank on Booksellers is a great way to celebrate authors and illustrators while also helping protect booksellers from strife following emergencies. The week-long auction will provide booklovers the chance to win piggy banks decorated by some of the biggest celebrities in the book industry (and some from beyond!)
Another development that has our board eager for 2018 is our continuing awareness efforts in the world of comic bookselling. We’ve seen an outpouring of support and outreach efforts from comic industry leaders like Lion Forge Comics and Diamond Comic Distributors, which will go a long way toward ensuring comic book guys and gals from across the US will be able to find relief when the unexpected strikes.
Board members and staff are also looking forward announcing the launch of the Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists. Several of our board members had the pleasure of working with Carla. The memorial scholarship provides an opportunity for someone with fewer than five years of bookselling experience to attend a key industry trade show and to create a community outreach project at their store.