Some Holiday Thoughts about Bookstores and Giving

img_4680A funny thing happened the other day. There was a small pile of brand new gloves on our dining room table and I asked my wife if they were presents for her family. She said they were the gloves she’d bought for street people in our town.

I was impressed and asked, “When did you decide to do that?” I wasn’t totally surprised when she told me she’d been doing it for years. I can be pretty oblivious.

But later it occurred to me this is how compassion works. People make a point of noticing and then they do something. Small or big, it starts with the noticing.

It happens all the time; it’s even institutionalized at this time of year. A gift card for the postman, cookies for your child’s teacher, financial gifts to the charities reaching out for help… Maybe some of it feels like duty or mere tradition but drill down and one feels the spirit which animates the tradition.

It’s remarkable to see that spirit of gratitude in the bookselling community. So many of the stores I work with actively partner with charities and nonprofits in their communities 365 days a year.

This holiday some, Like Parnassus Books, linked to a list of their favorite partners locally and nationwide. Skimming over that list, I was moved by The Compassion Collective, a group of authors, filmmakers and activists who have organized to feed, clothe and shelter both refugee and homeless U.S. children. Check them out—100% of donated money goes directly to the children. (And they have a kickass manifesto reclaiming Mother’s Day.  🙂 )

Speaking of authors, James Patterson once again gave a quarter million dollars in holiday bonuses to frontline booksellers across the country. Seeing so many really remarkable booksellers get that kind of thanks and recognition truly touched me. Patterson looked around and saw what kind of gloves he could give.

Patterson, who along with Ann Patchett is an ambassador for The Book Industry Charitable Foundation, also invites readers everywhere to support their local bookstores mindfully and with a spirit of gratitude.

He suggests there are lots of ways to support your local bookstore: 1. Buy a book. 2. Give a book and encourage a love of reading. 3. Donate to Binc to help your local bookseller.



I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Give away some gloves.










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