The Binc Foundation Announces the Results of the 2019 Survey

Ann Arbor—Early in the spring Binc conducted its third industry-wide survey. A record total of 696 respondents representing a wide cross-section of the bookselling industry participated.

This snapshot of the industry and supporters of the Foundation provides the Binc board and staff with concrete data to rate the Foundation’s performance and relevance and to collect suggestions for addressing booksellers’ current needs and desires for their foundation.

The overall goals for the survey were to gather information on booksellers’ current level of awareness of the Foundation’s services, rate program performance and relevance, and to solicit suggestions for new programs.

On the importance of the data the Foundation receives from the survey, Executive Director Pam French said, “Binc is here to serve booksellers, and with the feedback we received from booksellers and industry professionals through this survey, we are better equipped to act on our mission—which is providing a financial safety net for bookstore employees. We cannot overstate how much we value the feedback we receive, and we have been heartened to learn that awareness of our financial assistance programs continues to grow and that the Foundation is more valued than ever before. But the survey also shows there is still work for us to do. There are currently booksellers in crisis who are not coming to Binc when they need help, and our mission is to reach every qualifying bookseller in the country with assistance. We are also hard at work putting together new pilot programs to address grief counseling and financial literacy. These new programs are based directly on survey responses and what booksellers tell us they want and need.”

Key Findings 2019 Survey:
Awareness

  1. Awareness of Binc and the services the Foundation provides to booksellers continues its trajectory of growth across the industry. Only 16% of survey respondents were “not at all familiar with Binc” this year, compared with 28% of respondents in 2016, and 38% in 2014.
  2. Binc is more valued today than in previous years when the survey was conducted.
  3. Fellow booksellers and colleagues, Shelf Awareness, and the Regional Trade Associations are the leading ways booksellers find out about Binc’s financial assistance services and scholarship opportunities.

Emergency Assistance

  1. Self-reported need for financial assistance is 1 in 5 respondents, with 22% of respondents stating they had an emergency financial need in the last two years.
  2. Despite growth, less than half of booksellers who identified as needing assistance are applying to Binc.
  3. Booksellers who don’t apply are incorrectly assuming that their need is not great enough or their situation would not qualify.
  4. 100% of respondents who received assistance from Binc had a positive experience.

Audience

  1. 67% of survey respondents were frontline booksellers, managers, and bookstore owners.
  2. Shelf AwarenessPublishers Weekly, and Bookselling This Week were the top resources respondents relied on for general news about the bookselling industry.

Donations & Donors

  1. The biggest barrier to donating was that respondents didn’t have extra money after their bills are paid.
  2. 1 out of 3 respondents had supported the Foundation at some time.
  3. 91% of those who donated reported that financial assistance was the most important program to them (compared with scholarships and professional development).

Most importantly, the survey results showed that 1 in 5 booksellers have faced a financial emergency in the last two years, demonstrating that many booksellers are vulnerable during a financial emergency. The survey echoes nationwide findings that 1 in 4 Americans do not have access to $400 to cover an emergency need, making it difficult or impossible to quickly recover from unexpected life events like illness or accident. Problems that start off small (a missed utility bill due to limited income being funneled to a large medical bill) can quickly escalate out of control.

The Foundation is needed more now than ever and is having its busiest year assisting booksellers since 2011. The survey results demonstrate there is a need in the book industry for an industry-supported emergency financial safety net and that booksellers feel the effects of an emergency or disaster long after the initial emergency has passed.

The Foundation is now preparing for Giving Tuesday and is working with two of their valued partners, Penguin Random House and Ingram on their annual Year-End fundraising campaign. The Foundation continues to help booksellers affected by the California wildfires, power outages, and many other personal financial emergencies every day. Binc so far this year has seen a 38% increase in year-over-year approved grants as the need amongst booksellers and awareness of the Foundation’s services continue to grow.

Binc is very grateful for everyone who participated in the survey. These responses help steer the direction of the Foundation and serve booksellers today and into the future.

California Wildfires

Hundreds of booksellers have been evacuated from their homes due to the wildfires happening in California right now, at least a dozen bookstores are temporarily closed, and more are trying to stay open without power and only a few customers coming through the doors.

“The situation in Northern California for many indie booksellers can only be described as dire, with a number of NCIBA member stores being forced to close their doors–some since Saturday. Other stores are staying open, but only by overcoming huge obstacles in creative ways.” – Publishers Weekly

 How You Can Help Booksellers Right Now

  • The Book Group (a New York-based literary agency) has just announced a $2000 match to help booksellers affected by the wildfires and power outages.
  • Give today, and your donation will be matched dollar for dollar.
    Sign up to become a monthly sustaining donor. Your first month’s donation will be matched dollar for dollar.
  • Email us info@bincfoundation.org to increase your monthly gift.
  • Spread the word on social media.
  • If you know a bookseller or comic retailer who may be in need of assistance, please encourage them to contact Binc.

    How Binc Can Help Booksellers

  1. If the store has to close or business is so slow (due to evacuations, fires, and/or loss of electricity) that you cannot pay the store rent or utilities, Binc may be able to pay rent and utility expenses on your behalf.
  2. If a bookseller/retailer misses 50% of scheduled weekly work hours, Binc may be able to help with personal household expenses if this missed income causes financial hardship.
  3. If a bookseller/retailer needs to relocate to temporary housing with power for emergency reasons (medical condition, elderly household members, infant, etc.), Binc may be able to help pay for temporary lodging and supplies.

Email Binc at help@bincfoundation.org or call 866.733.9064. Kit, Pam, or Kate will talk you through the possible assistance options.

The Forge Fund for Comic Retailers

Rick Johnson, Annie Philbrick, David Steward II, Devin Funches

ST. LOUIS—Just before the doors opened to this year’s pop culture spectacle at the Jacob K. Javits Center, David Steward II and Annie Philbrick of the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) greeted a room full of retailers at the Diamond Comics breakfast with the introduction of The Forge Fund, a renewal of their partnership to support direct market retailers and their employees in times of hardship.

Lion Forge has donated $100,000 of seed money to Binc to establish this special fund for comic shops. In addition to this initial investment, going forward, 5% of proceeds from select titles will go to Forge Fund, with this week’s release of the Gail Simone’s Catalyst Prime series Seven Days to be the first in the program.

“The Forge Fund expands a vital financial safety net and enables the Binc Foundation to help more comic book retailers across the country,” said Binc Executive Director Pam French. “Our most recent survey results let us know that one in five store employees have experienced a personal financial crisis within the past twelve months. This new fund gives the Foundation the ability to assist those working in the comic book industry who are facing financial emergencies today and in the future. Our thanks and gratitude go out to Lion Forge for recognizing this need in their community and taking action to help.”

“Comic shops and their employees are the reason we are all here, and the assurance that we can continue to evolve our customer base and grow the readership of this medium we ALL love so dearly,” says David Steward II. “As the industry finds itself in a time of transition, and in the wake of recent natural disasters, we knew that we had to do something meaningful to help. It’s for those reasons that today, we introduce the evolution of our partnership with Binc, and ‘The Forge Fund.’ I also would like to personally encourage other publishers to join us in this effort, as this is an investment in the future of our industry.”

The Binc Foundation provides confidential financial assistance to comic retailers and booksellers, who have a demonstrated need arising from severe hardship or emergency circumstances. Retailers and their families who are suffering from financial challenges due to illness, death in the family, expenses associated with escaping domestic violence, homelessness prevention, natural disaster recovery and more now have a place to call when help is needed.

Retailers, look for titles in Diamond’s PREVIEWS catalog carrying The Forge Fund logo, and visit the Binc website for more information, on how you or your employees can access this program. Publishers, join Lion Forge in supporting our retail partners by contributing to the Forge Fund today!

Applications Open for the Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists

Applications opened today, September 1st, for the Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists.

One bookseller will have the life-changing experience to attend two amazing bookselling events as well as receive a grant to make their community stronger. This scholarship is focused on finding new readers and ensuring access to books that improve readers’ lives while integrating bookstores even more fully into their communities. Applications will be accepted through 10/21/2019.

2020’s award will be the second Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship awarded by the Friends of Carla Gray Committee and the Binc Foundation. The scholarship is awarded annually to a single bookseller with at least one year but fewer than five years of bookselling experience, who has not attended an industry tradeshow or an ABA sponsored event.

The winning bookseller will be awarded a year-long scholarship for professional development, which includes: travel and hotel for attendance to Winter Institute, travel and hotel for attendance to their regional tradeshow, and a stipend to fund a community outreach project.

Jenna Johnson (Friends of Carla Gray Committee) said, “We are so heartened to see the continuing support for this scholarship program and are excited to help new booksellers imagine ever more ways to engage and inspire their communities. We are looking forward to the new round of applications and to watching Carla’s enthusiasm and can-do spirit live on through these emerging leaders.”

“The Binc Foundation is honored to commemorate Carla’s legacy by offering this scholarship as a way to honor Carla for the beloved friend and book lover that she was to all who knew her,” says Pam French, Binc’s executive director. “We look forward to learning about the winner’s community project and meeting them in person at next year’s Winter Institute.”

Booksellers can apply at https://bincfoundation.submittable.com/submit/145144/2019-carla-gray-memorial-scholarship-for-emerging-bookseller-activists

The application period runs from September 1 to October 21, 2019.

Criteria and Eligibility

  • Applicant has at least 1 year but fewer than 5 years of bookselling experience.
  • Applicant is willing and able to commit one year to complete the requirements of the scholarship and intends to remain employed at the designated bookstore until the completion of the community outreach project.
  • Applicant’s store meets the criteria of “bookstore” as defined by Binc policies. (Please email info@bincfoundation.org if you have a question about your store.)
  • Applicant’s store is a member in good standing of the ABA and their regional trade association.
  • Applicant is a regular part-time or full-time employee of a bricks & mortar bookstore.
  • A maximum of one scholarship will be awarded each year.
  • Applicant may receive this scholarship only once in their tenure as a bookseller.
  • A bookstore may receive this scholarship only once.
  • Bookstore owner agrees to partner on the community outreach project.

This scholarship and its recipients will celebrate and honor Carla’s boundless enthusiasm for the books themselves, her delight in pairing the right book with the right reader, and her unwavering faith in the bookselling community.

If you would like to honor Carla’s legacy with a donation to this scholarship fund and help change booksellers lives, you can do so here: https://secure.donationpay.org/bincfoundation/?source=carlagray.

Macmillan/Henry Holt Announces Matching Donation Campaign for Me by Elton John to Binc Benefiting Independent Booksellers

Ann Arbor, MI – To celebrate the forthcoming publication of Elton John’s memoir, Me Macmillan/Henry Holt will donate $10 to Binc for every independent bookstore order of 20 copies or more, up to a total maximum match amount of $5,000. All orders placed by independent bookstores before November 15 are eligible for this program.

“We are proud to support our bookselling community and Binc; this program creates an opportunity to do so that we hope will be meaningful to the independent booksellers,”  said Maggie Richards, VP, Henry Holt and Company.

Pam French, Binc Executive Director said, “We are honored to be working with Macmillan/Henry Holt on this innovative fundraising effort. By contributing to Binc, Macmillan/Henry Holt is giving booksellers the opportunity to strengthen the safety net for themselves and their colleagues while doing the daily work of ordering books for their bookshops.”

The Foundation has been able to assist forty-four booksellers and their families and has distributed $103,039 in emergency assistance (as reported by the Foundation at mid-year January 1st – June 30th, 2019), due to the commitment of sustaining partners, including Macmillan. This assistance has alleviated medical debt, provided a safe place to live, afforded booksellers needed medical care, and much more.

Pam French concluded, “We couldn’t do this work without our publishing partners like Macmillan and are grateful for their continued support and creativity. Publishers supporting booksellers make this whole industry stronger.