James Patterson, whose crime novels sell in the hundreds of millions around the world, is to donate €300,000 to independent bookshops in Ireland and Britain.
The US author, who has topped the New York Times bestseller list a record 57 times with his Alex Cross thrillers, said bookshops played an essential role in society and child development, and their plight in the face of cheap online booksellers needed to be highlighted.
“We’re in a revolution and evolution period because of e-books and online book distributors, the Amazons of the world, so I just want to try and make that transition as orderly, fair and as smart as we can,” he said.
The announcement follows Patterson’s pledge last September to donate $1m to US bookshops.
Donations in the US have so far helped to fund everything from customising a school bus as a mobile bookshop — to providing free books for underprivileged children.
In an open letter to bookshops in Ireland and Britain, Patterson describes the paucity of children who read books as a ‘grave peril’ facing future generations.
Names of the first bookshops to have made successful bids will be announced in September. To apply for funding, bookshop owners are asked to write a brief outline of how they would use donations of €300 to €6,000 and email it to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m open to all types of request here,” he says.
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