Lessening the Impact of Job Loss


Almost half (47 percent) of adults say the loss of their primary income means money to support their lifestyle will run out in less than three months, according to an MDRT survey of more than 2,000 adults earlier this year. That’s far less than the average length of time people typically spend trying to find a job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, as of September 2017, the average length of unemployment is 26.8 weeks.

These statistics appeared in U.S. News last fall. While some readers may be startled by these facts, we at Binc know them to be true. The real-life dramas that play out when the breadwinner in a family loses their job are the reason that the Binc Foundation added a qualifying event for Loss of Household Income due to Spouse or Partner Job Loss. Binc may be able to help when a bookseller’s spouse or partner is in this situation and the family finds themselves unable to meet their essential household expenses. A temporary job loss should not derail the family’s finances for years to come, and that is what can easily happen without some supportive assistance.

Take for instance the bookseller in Texas whose household income decreased by nearly 50% when his wife’s job position was eliminated. She had been with the company for more than 15 years and had no warning that a company downsizing would leave her out of work. With a new baby in the home, there was little savings to fall back on while she looked for another position. Luckily a co-worker encouraged the bookseller to contact Binc. The Foundation was able to step in and help the family with expenses, thereby easing the transition for them.

In another case, the husband of a bookseller from Illinois was involved in a serious automobile accident. His injuries were such that he would be unable to return to work for several months. While the family was able to make ends meets before the accident, there was no way they could manage without the husband’s income. There was the possibility of an insurance settlement, but that too would be months away. In the meantime, rent and utilities needed to be kept current. Binc was able to step in and pay several months of rent and utilities to stave off eviction and keep the heat and lights on for the family.

Many of our donors tell us they donate because “you never know what the future may bring”.  In truth, anyone could find themselves without a job, through no fault of their own. Looking for a new job is stressful enough without adding the worry of how you will pay the household bills. Because of the donations from booksellers, bookstores, authors, publishers and distributors, Binc is able to provide a safety net for just this type of unanticipated emergency. The Binc Foundation feels that while the loss of an income in a household may cause a temporary bump in a household’s finances, it should not create a financial calamity from which the family cannot recover.

If you are a bookseller and have experienced a loss of household income (other than your own bookstore income), or know a bookseller facing this type of event, we urge you to contact Binc. The Foundation is ready to help

Another successful in-person board meeting!

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.

Our friends from Above the Treeline were among the people who stopped in to see the board during 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!)

Judey, one of our incredible volunteers, recently visited Binc HQ with a delivery: The unpainted pigs we will be sending out to authors for #BankonBooksellers. (The full-size pigs are in the box!)

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.

The Binc Board of Directors stopped in to visit Vault of Midnight in downtown Ann Arbor. We’re working hard to make sure comic booksellers know we have their back as well. Pictured from left to right are: (Back) Lori Tucker-Sullivan, Mary Richards, Julia Cowlishaw, Annie Philbrick, Jen Reynolds, Matthew Gildea, Christie Roehl, Ken White, Chuck Robinson (Front) Kate McCune, Anne Kubek, Deb Leonard, Rockelle Henderson, Wanda Jewell. Photo Credit: Kristen Freshley

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.

We love seeing our board work together to make the bookseller safety net as strong as possible and look forward to their continued leadership and guidance as we move forward.  Join them in supporting the bookseller’s safety net and make a gift today! 

Binc loves our volunteers!

Volunteer Appreciation Week 2018 is here and the Binc office is buzzing with love for the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the bookseller’s safety net is ready to help booksellers across the country.

First, our incredible board and committee members. In addition to volunteering their time, they use their years of experience in the book industry to help us reach more booksellers and help us work most efficiently. Last year, an unprecedented number of booksellers were in need following a series of natural disasters that refused to let up. Our board and committee members put in extra hours, exhausted their industry contacts and generally stepped up. Their efforts are a huge part of why last year no bookseller in need was turned away!

Our committee and board members aren’t the only volunteers who should be celebrated this week – and every week as far as we’re concerned. Publisher Sales reps and other Binc advocates give their time when they visit some of the thousands of bookstores that shape communities across the country. Person-to-person communication is one of the strongest tools we have in our mission to make sure every bookseller knows that if they have an emergency, they can turn to Binc. We know these visits are effective by the results they produce. 

Our volunteer fundraisers, whether they are helping at a bookseller gathering organizing an event like Heads-or-Tails, the Heartland Fall Forum auction, PNBA’s author badge – or if they are hosting a fundraising event in their store – do more than keep the bookseller’s safety net strong; they spread their enthusiasm and their love for their fellow booksellers.

Without our volunteers, events like the Heads-or-Tails fundraiser wouldn’t be possible!

All of our volunteers act as powerful advocates and use their unique skills to help us be the most effective foundation we can be. They stuff and address envelopes at Binc headquarters, they put up our posters in stores so employees know where they can turn, and they even deliver ceramic pigs for our upcoming Bank on Booksellers auction!

Judey, one of our incredible volunteers, recently visited Binc HQ with a delivery: The unpainted pigs we will be sending out to authors and illustrators for #BankonBooksellers

Please help us celebrate our volunteers by sending out a big THANK YOU in social media. Also, consider joining a Binc committee today and use what makes you great to help booksellers.

Or, you can help booksellers by joining our ongoing #ShareTheGood fundraiser and making a monthly recurring gift.

And there’s a fun way for you to help booksellers. Go out on Indie Bookstore Day, April 28, and let your local bookseller know that you, and Binc, have their back, and buy a few books along the way

Share The Good Campaign Begins

Our spring fundraiser for 2018 has begun! We hope you’re ready to help us #ShareTheGood!

Throughout the month of April, Binc will share stories of booksellers who have been helped after life changing events, from natural disasters to medical emergencies. We will also share messages from current supporters explaining why it’s important to maintain a safety net for booksellers.

The goal of the campaign is to encourage 50 booklovers from across the country to become Binc monthly sustaining donors.

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“Sharing these stories is important because they illustrate how book people are really helping each other,” said Pamela French, Executive Director. “But more importantly these stories show how critical it is to have a place to turn when life throws you a curve ball.”

Here is a story from someone our sustaining donors helped last month:

In my 47-year career in the book business, I never asked for anything in return. Simply being around books, and in the culture of books, was the reward in itself. But sometimes life throws painful challenges in our path that we could never anticipate. This is what happened to me.

And it’s because of indie booksellers such as yourselves who donate money to Binc – even when times are toughest – that I received the crucial help I needed after my surgery. My gratitude for all of you good people is beyond measure. I have been deeply humbled, and I promise you that when I am able, I will pay it forward. – A grateful grant recipient

Your support today will help the next bookseller who faces the unexpected.

We also have a great video submitted by Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, NC. Page 158 is one of many stores that support the bookseller’s safety net. If you’d like to join them. click here.


Binc Donor Profile: A Q & A with Simon & Schuster’s Carolyn Reidy

Photo Courtesy David Jacobs

Binc recently talked with Carolyn Reidy, Simon and Schuster President and CEO and Publishers Weekly 2017 Person of the Year, to discuss the importance of booksellers, bookstores and Binc.

BF: When did you first hear about Binc?

CR: I first heard of Binc in its former incarnation as part of Borders. Then, I remember seeing an email when they transitioned to helping all booksellers. The foundation really rose in my consciousness after I was approached by Ann Patchett in an email last year.

BF: What separates booksellers from other retail employees?

CR: The main thing is the passion they have for the business they are in. By the nature of their jobs they have to learn a lot about what they are selling and express their enthusiasm, knowledge and wisdom to their customers. They share a passion for what they are selling that I think is fairly unique in the world of retail.

BF: What do booksellers and bookstores bring to a community?

CR: Booksellers and bookstores bring so much to a community. One of the things that is unique to bookstores as a retail environment is that they are a gathering place, which most retail outlets are not.

Also, bookstores shape and are shaped by their local environment. They are community-based– the people who gather there are from that community and as a result each store has an individual character. At the same time, booksellers and bookstores are widening the world for the people who come in. They make it possible for their customers to see way beyond the local: to understand the world, to have empathy with points of view different from their own, to experience the wider world through books and to engage in the national discourse. Bookstores contribute to the dialogue that’s going on in the country about any number of issues through the books they sell.

BF: How can booksellers help facilitate the process of local engagement with national dialogues?

CR: There are many different kinds of events, or even use of their retail space available to booksellers to facilitate engagement in the issues of today and each bookseller brings his or her individuality to the table. They sponsor book clubs, they can gather titles covering a certain topic for displays, and they have author events or authorless events which they create to focus on issues or discussion. Some have newsletters, others will have educational nights where they teach and discuss specific subjects.

BF: What motivates you to support Binc and the bookseller’s safety net?

CR: Booksellers are a key part of our business and they share our passion and devotion to authors and the written word. We want every bookseller to thrive. When things happen that hit a person and could really knock them down, if we can do something to help I believe we should.

Booksellers work hard and are dedicated to our industry. They work for small businesses with sometimes limited resources, and they deserve to not be left on their own when trouble comes.. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be in positions to help owe it to booksellers and independent store owners to help them out.

BF: You have been a leader in the book industry for years, how has working with books and booksellers changed your worldview?

CR: Working with booksellers has taught me the importance of passionate enthusiasm for what you do. The value of sharing your knowledge and what you learn from the books in your life. They demonstrate how lives can be changed by books, and also by the people who put the books in your hand.

Booksellers are facilitating the importance that books have in our lives by saying, ‘You should read this,’ either by making a book available on the shelves or by recommendation.

BF: Beyond helping each other through emergencies, how can booksellers help each other thrive?

CR: Booksellers have been doing a really good job of helping each other thrive in the past few years. They share their knowledge, they share their best practices, they share the things that help their stores remain centers of excitement and interest to the consumer, and they share their enthusiasm.

Booksellers team up on programs and ways of combining their influence in the business community. As a group, booksellers are very much into talking with each other and sharing, and that helps them all make their businesses better. I think they are doing an excellent job at that.

BF: What role do bookselling events like Winter Institute and BookExpo play in helping booksellers connect and grow?

CR: Bookselling events are essential and they have increased in importance over the years. Number one, booksellers have their own sessions for sharing business principles: new ideas, ways of doing things, airing problems, changes that are happening and ways to address them.

The Winter Institute and BookExpo are also wonderful forums for authors to meet booksellers and for booksellers to meet authors in a non-stressful environment. Booksellers also have the opportunity to meet with all of the publishing reps and hear about their books in a concentrated way so it’s very time effective.

BF: No book interview is complete without asking: what are you reading right now?

CR: The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

It’s a book I was hesitant to pick up initially because the story takes place in a prison – the main character is a woman in prison. It is an absolutely magical and phenomenal book, I’m so glad I picked it up because Rachel makes you understand and empathize with characters to whom you might otherwise find it difficult to relate and makes you understand the world from their point of view. It’s absolutely remarkable. The ending is surprising but she really helps you not only see and feel how those people are caught in their world, but how they escape it emotionally and mentally.

BF: Anything else you would like to share?

CR: I think it’s important for us to support each other in this business so everyone has an opportunity to thrive within it.