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.
Some of the results from our recent bookseller survey both surprised and saddened us. While 31% of you said you had been in a position of needing emergency assistance in the past two years, only 7.6% of you applied to Binc for help. Our goal has always been to have every bookseller in need look to Binc for assistance. We want you all to Think Binc first when you need help. We know we have a long way to go to reach that goal, and only when each and every booksellers reaches out to Binc first will we have succeeded. To help reach that goal, we need to clear up some common misconceptions about the Foundation.
Here are the reasons booksellers gave for not applying to Binc, and why those reasons shouldn’t deter you.
“I wasn’t aware Binc existed.” We are working hard to reach each and every bookseller across the country. With the help of the ABA, the regional bookseller associations, Ingram, edelweiss, Shelf Awareness, Publishers Weekly, industry leaders, bookstore owners & managers and booksellers, we have made great strides. But clearly we have farther to go. You can help as well; when you visit bookstores be sure to tell the bookstore employees about Binc. Remind them to ThinkBinc!
“I didn’t think I’d qualify.” We want every bookseller with a need to call us. Often when a you think you won’t qualify, you do. Give us a chance to talk about your challenge and see how Binc can help. We can’t always give a financial grant, but we promise to not leave you without resources to help you through your situation.
“I was afraid others would find out.” We pride ourselves on confidential and compassionate service. You can call Binc toll free at 866-733-9064 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, apply, receive assistance and no one outside Binc will ever know. We never reveal the names of any of our grant recipients without their full and enthusiastic approval.
“I was too embarrassed to ask for assistance.” Binc isn’t here to judge, we are here to help. Needing a helping hand shouldn’t be embarrassing, we all need a little help now and then. Binc wants to help at the first sign of the hardship, saving you months of potential stress over how to pay your bills.
“It seemed like too much paperwork.” We try to simplify the application process, asking for only the documents we are legally required to collect. We have streamlined our application as much as possible. We want the process to be easy and not to create more stress for you.
“The whole process was confusing.” We know that the stress of a financial hardship can be overwhelming. Call us and we can walk you through the steps to apply. Don’t let temporary confusion lead to an overwhelming debt burden in the future.
“I figured there was somebody else who might have a bigger need.” If you are having trouble paying your bills, then there is no one with a bigger need. We are constantly working to raise funds from industry supporters to make sure that there will always be enough money to cover bookseller’s needs, big or small. Also, we know that helping someone with a small need today can prevent it from turning into a larger need down the road.
“I’m a bookstore owner, not an employee.” If you make your living from the bookstore, whether owner or employee, then you are eligible. Owners can have needs that are just as great as their employees. Often, helping an owner overcome personal financial hardships is what allows the bookstore to remain open, and therefore keeping other bookselling jobs.
“My bookstore closed, so I wasn’t eligible.” Binc can now help employees who qualify for up to 12 months after the closing of the bookstore.
“I received enough support through other channels.” OK, this may be the only answer that is acceptable. But for those who don’t have other alternatives, ThinkBinc!
If this letter has any effect, we hope it is to encourage you and your fellow booksellers to call us. We only exist to help booksellers through whatever life throws at you. Whether we help by paying your bills, provide you with additional resources in your area, help you mediate medical bills, or combination of all three, we promise to do all we can to help you get through the difficulty you are facing.
Remember, there is a 100% chance we won’t help if you don’t contact us!
Some of Binc’s most invaluable help has come after bookstores have suffered natural disasters. A striking case involved Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., when, in October 2013, Tropical Storm Sandy caused a tidal surge that overwhelmed the store’s sandbagged walls. “Tuesday morning we arrived to a very wet store and no lights, computers or anything but dampness and the smell of a beach at low tide,” recalled owner Annie Philbrick. “Over the next two days, with the undying support of the local community, we packed up and moved the entire children’s section to an empty apartment upstairs, and the remaining store into two Mayflower moving trucks to be held at a storage facility about five miles away until we were able to open up again as a bookstore.”
This article by guest writer Dr. Vic Reddy is re-posted with permission from the Detroit Free Press.
I had just finished a consultation with a patient about a proposed procedure when she asked, “Well, what’s it going to cost me?”
I looked at her insurance, one offered through our state’s health insurance exchange; the plan had a significant deductible, and I could tell she was hedging on what was an elective procedure. I asked our office manager to give her an approximate charge based on my fee and what the hospital would charge. The patient left satisfied and said that she would consider whether she would proceed.
Consistently, month after month, the greatest number of assistance requests to Binc are due to large medical bills. It begins with a need for surgery, a prolonged illness or an ongoing medical condition and often ends with insurmountable bills. Five years after the passage of Affordable Care Act (ACA), the law is benefiting millions of individuals across the country and brings tangible benefits to families and communities. However, having medical insurance does not prevent crippling medical bills. Even when insured, the patient’s deductible or portion of a multiple thousand dollar bill can create a serious hardship for their household.
We recently received a donation and a poignant letter from a former bookseller who suffered a stroke in the prime of life. We hope that sharing her words will serve as a reminder to us all that we never know what tomorrow will bring.
“For well over a month after my grant was approved I cried every time I thought about it. I simply couldn’t believe the compassion shown to us by Binc!
Those outdated phones can help pay a bookseller’s emergency expenses when they are recycled through the Binc Foundation. This fall, at the seven regional IBA Trade Shows, the Binc Foundation will be holding a cell phone drive. Who doesn’t have at least one old phone collecting dust in some drawer? You can help your staff, friends and customers de-clutter and raise money for booksellers in need at the same time. The funds raised through the cell phone recycling project are turned into assistance for medical bills, help with housing and utilities and more.
In August of 2012, independent bookseller Clarey Rudd required emergency surgery after complications from cancer caused his throat to close to the size of a small wire. Thankfully, Clarey made a full recovery, but was inundated by over $100,000 of medical bills. This video tells how the Binc Foundation helped Clarey and his family by eliminating 100% of his medical debt and ensuring the future of his bookstores.
The Book Industry Charitable Foundation is proud to have been able to provide a safety net for Clarey and his family when they were faced with a potential crisis. With your support, Binc will be able to continue in our mission of supporting booksellers like Clarey through times of financial hardship.
When you live in Minnesota, falling on the ice during winter is a given. The experience usually only results in a bruised ego, but this winter one of my little slips landed me at the surgeon’s. In early February, I fractured my fibula and had to get a metal plate and six screws to correct the injury. And let me tell you: three weeks on crutches and another month in a walking boot was not very fun… especially on ice… during one of most treacherous winters Minnesotans have ever seen. But in reality, the crutches and the boot were only minor annoyances in comparison to my anxiety over what this injury would cost me. As a full-time bookseller, my savings account is not exactly padded, nor do I have any paid sick time to speak of. All in all, I missed over seven days of work (a couple due to limited mobility during a particularly vicious blizzard a couple days after my surgery). I was stressed out, to say the least.
The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation knows that even small setbacks can have significant impact on a bookseller’s life. Because of that, the assistance provided by the Binc Foundation is geared to get booksellers quickly back on their feet and doing what they love – connecting their community with the books and authors to enhance their lives.
Since 1996, the Binc Foundation has assisted booksellers facing a variety of hardships, saving them from financial disaster and forever changing their lives. Binc has become a critical link in ensuring that booksellers, who may face financial difficulties, have a safety net.