Binc Prepares for COVID-19 Assistance to Booksellers and Comic Retailers



Date: 3/14/2020

Pam French
Executive Director

Kathy Bartson
Director of Development

ATTENTION: If you are requesting assistance related to COVID-19, please fill out the expedited online application here.

Ann Arbor, MI – Questions are being asked about Binc’s role and capacity to help bookstores during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and assistance requests have started coming in. The Binc Foundation will continue to help booksellers according to our policy for public health emergencies. Assistance may be available for the medical expenses of booksellers and to help booksellers in specific cases where store closure and/or loss of scheduled pay leads to the inability to pay essential household bills for an individual or family.

Depending on each bookseller’s circumstance, Binc may be able to help with medical expenses or personal household expenses under the following circumstances:

  • If a bookstore employee contracts an illness and cannot go to work.  
  • If a member of a bookseller’s household contracts an illness and the employee is forced to quarantine themselves to prevent further spread of the virus.
  • If a bookseller loses more than 50% of their scheduled work hours because residents are told not to go to work.*
  • If a bookseller loses more than 50% of their scheduled work hours due to a mandatory quarantine.*
  • If a bookstore loses a significant amount of business due to forced store closure or restrictions on residents’ movement and the store is unable to pay store rent and/or utility expenses, Binc may be able to help.* 

* An official state, county or city Public Health Emergency restricting public interaction must be declared.

 Above all, please encourage booksellers with a question or need to contact Binc by email or phone 866-733-9064.

Binc is available to answer questions and concerns. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Pam French urges booksellers with needs unrelated to COVID-19 to continue to reach out to Binc for help. “We do not want those with needs unrelated to the virus to refrain from requesting help. Whatever the cause of someone’s hardship may be, it is still a financial emergency for that household. Binc is ready. Binc is supported by a community of book people and reinforces the power of many coming together. ”

With the uncertainty brought on by the developing situation related to COVID-19, it is more necessary than ever that Binc has the resources to act quickly and efficiently to help as many booksellers as needed this year.

Development Director Kathy Bartson said, “Renewing, increasing, or pledging your support right now will be critical to our decisions moving forward and allow us to help every qualifying bookseller and comic retailer that comes to Binc for help. This is a critical time for booksellers as business slows, schools close, and they are canceling months’ worth of events. Booksellers need to know that Binc will be here for them so they can weather these scary circumstances and come out on the other side.” She urges individuals to do what they can to ensure this safety net is here so bookstores can survive this crisis and continue to serve their communities after it is over.

Matching Gift Challenge Dollar for Dollar up to $12,500

Binc announces a matching gift challenge. Renew your gift so no bookseller in need will be turned away. Friend of Binc, Literary Agent Steven Malk of Writers House, knows first hand how important bookstores are to a community and how vulnerable they can be in times of crisis. He will match every gift dollar for dollar up to $7,500. 
 Malk told Binc, “As the son and grandson of independent booksellers and a former independent bookseller myself, I understand how vulnerable booksellers are during times like these.  Booksellers are the lifeblood of our business, and it’s incumbent upon all of us in the publishing community to do what we can to help protect them and ensure their ongoing success during times of crisis.”

Beacon Press is adding $5000 to the matching gift challenge. So all gifts will be matched dollar for dollar up to $12,500.

 “This is an unprecedented time and while we still don’t know the full impact of this pandemic, we do know that many booksellers will be affected. Booksellers are very important to a small independent press like Beacon and so it is especially meaningful for us to be able to support Binc. I would like to encourage everyone who can to donate, so Binc can strengthen the booksellers’ safety net,” said Helene Atwan, Director Beacon Press.

Categories: Press Release
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