What We Learned at Ci7

Pittsburgh, PA June 2019

I love going to industry tradeshows and conferences and Ci7 in Pittsburgh was one of the best (and most intense) I’ve been to yet. On my first day in Pittsburgh, I did the full-day bookstore tour where a busload of booksellers and other industry folks visited five of Pittsburgh’s growing and beloved indies: Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Spark Books, City of Asylum, White Whale Bookstore, and Classic Lines Bookstore. It was awesome to see these bookstores in person (the majority of which are less than four years old) and the growing literary community in Pittsburgh. There was another tour which was also offered where people visited indie bookshops in the north side of the city and surrounding suburbs. Opening a bookstore is often both a risk and the realization of a lifelong dream, and it is our core mission at Binc to support these intrepid entrepreneurs and their hard-working employees.

One of the most important Binc-related realizations that I took home from this gathering of booksellers was that even though Binc has been serving US booksellers’ emergency financial needs since 2011, there are still misconceptions about what Binc does, who qualifies for assistance, and what kinds of events Binc can help with.

Booksellers do not have to donate or “belong” to Binc to qualify for assistance—ever.

The first thing I often have to clear up when getting into a discussion with a bookseller who is mostly unfamiliar with Binc (oh you’re from that bookstore charity), is that Binc is not a membership organization. Booksellers do not have to donate or “belong” to Binc to qualify for assistance—ever. Binc is a nonprofit foundation funded and supported by a community of caring and generous donors from across the industry (i.e. authors, publishers, frontline booksellers, bookstore owners, the ABA, and regional associations like NCIBA and NEIBA) and we serve all people working full-time or part-time in a brick and mortar bookstore for over 90-days. We serve frontline booksellers, comic book retailers, owners, managers, buyers, events coordinators, and shift leaders. If you work in a bookstore—Binc is your foundation. There are no membership fees or costs, and there never will be.

Another misconception I often encounter at trade shows or when I’m visiting bookstores is that Binc assistance applies only to the bookstore itself or the bookstore owner. This is also not the case. If a tree falls on your house, and you work in a bookstore year-round, it’s possible that Binc can help. Due to donations from across the industry, Binc is able to help with a vast range of emergency events that effect booksellers’ lives outside of the bookstore where they work. Binc has helped pay for addiction treatment, vital medications, preventing eviction, repairs after a tornado partially destroyed a home, funeral expenses for a loved one, relocation for domestic violence survivors, dealing with bed bugs, and 100s more qualifying events. If you’re not sure if your situation qualifies, and you’re struggling financially after something unexpected happened in your life, call us. We’ll talk you through our simple application process and do our best to get you some relief.

If you’re not sure if your situation qualifies, call us.

Sometimes when I tell people about Binc they ask, “So what’s the catch? Do I have to pay the money back? Do you tell everyone I needed assistance?” The honest answer is that there is no catch. You never have to pay the money back (the assistance is in the form of grants, not loans), and our financial assistance programs are 100% confidential and judgment-free. We take your situation as it is and do our best to work with you and help you find a way out of it so you can get back to normal as quickly as possible.

At Binc we believe in the power of the indie bookstore in a community and the value of the people who work in that bookstore who every day make the store what it is. Binc is here for the children’s book buyer who is selecting the books on the shelves to reflect and at times challenge their community, the events coordinator who is always staying late and working weekends and moving that shelf out of the way for the 100th time, the aspiring writer and frontline bookseller who is trying to make her bookseller’s hourly wage work in New York City, for the new bookstore owner with a young family who has big dreams about building something great and valued for their community. Binc is here for each of them in times of great need. I always tell people, I wish that nobody ever needed Binc, but I also know that’s not the world we live in. At least it’s good to know if you need a little help during an emergency, that Binc will be here to help you find your way through a crisis. Then afterward, you can keep slinging those books and sharing your favorite stories with your customers and doing the incredible work of selling books and connecting readers with the stories they so urgently need to hear.

Kate Weiss was a frontline bookseller and book buyer for over ten years and is currently the communication and marketing coordinator at the Book Industry Charitable Foundation.

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.

Disability

  • 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 help@bincfoundation.org

Shop Local Live Local ALL YEAR LONG

Remember last year’s Shop Local Live Local campaign, where AdventureKEEN supported booksellers across the country by donating all of their profits from the month of June to Binc? We do! Because of AdventureKEEN’s donation, we were able to help four booksellers through one of the most trying years in the foundation’s history.

Richard from AdventureKEEN joined then-supporter-now-board-member Chuck Robinson on Chuck’s Big Ride Redux to personally deliver the funds AdventureKEEN raised with the original Shop Local Live Local Campaign.

After the rousing success of Shop Local Live Local, AdventureKEEN is once again stepping up to help booksellers thrive. For 2018, AdventureKEEN is taking the Shop Local Live Local spirit and spreading it across the year with SHOP LOCAL LIVE LOCAL ALL YEAR LONG. This new campaign means AdventureKEEN is offering a three percent rebate to stores and a matching three percent donation to Binc based on 2018 purchases of all AdventureKEEN titles via PGW/IPS

One of the best parts about this offer is that AdventureKEEN is willing to count all sales from the beginning of 2018, but only for those store that sign up for the program before March 31, which is why we are taking to our humble blog in the hopes of getting the word out before it is too late.

If you’re not familiar with AdventureKEEN’s offerings, they make a great addition to your Local Interest section. AdventureKEEN provides region and state-specific titles to help people get the most out of the outdoors in their community, from hiking, stargazing and birdwatching guides to books to inspire a love of nature in young readers. Shop Local Live Local began with the idea of encouraging people to foster a deeper connection to their community through their local bookstore as well as their local parks, trails and backyards: we’re so excited to see it expand to a year-round mission.

Chuck’s Ride interview with Stirling Books and Brew

 

Chuck Robinson, of Village Books and Paper Dreams, and Richard Hunt, of AdventureKEEN, recently visited Staci and Jim Stuart, owners of Stirling Books & Brew in Albion, MI. They stopped to talk about how Binc and the Albion community came to Jim and Staci’s aid after Staci suffered a spinal injury just days before the store was set to open. You can join Chuck and Richard in supporting Binc, click here. You can also join in helping Staci with her recovery here.

 

 

Helping booksellers after the unexpected from Binc Foundation on Vimeo.

Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship Announced

Please join us in launching a new fund to support emerging booksellers and their efforts in community building, in honor of Carla Gray.

The Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists will be managed by the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation.

Carla Gray believed that books could change people and that people change the world. This memorial fund in her honor connects on both fronts, at the intersection of books and activism.

The Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship will be given annually to a single bookseller with fewer than five years of experience, working at a store with less than $500k in revenue. The bookseller will be given a scholarship for professional development, including attendance at a key industry trade show, one of Carla’s favorite activities. The bookseller will have the opportunity to connect with booksellers, publishers, and authors and to establish the kind of long-term relationships Carla held dear and that keep this business thriving. The bookseller will also be given a stipend (amount TBD) to support a community outreach project of his/her own creation. 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 faith in the bookselling community.

We are grateful to Binc for helping to commemorate our beloved friend and book champion. We are looking forward to refining the range of the award once we have a base fund established.”

Hannah Harlow, Jenna Johnson, and MaryBeth Long
Friends of the Extraordinary Carla Gray

Additional information can be found at Shelf Awareness, Publishers Weekly, and Legacy.com.

Contributions can be made here.