James Patterson is in the news again – correction, James Patterson has bought himself a slot in the news again. And he wants you to know he’s a giver. He’s given more on top of what he gave before. He adores your bookstores. And he wants them to love him too.
I know it’s been hard. I know it’s been cruel. I know you’ve counted the long dark empty days without a single James Patterson announcement or photo or headline in your favorite media. I know your newspaper ad pages have been dreary wildernesses without his unforgettable features or peerless words. Fear not, gentle readers. He has smiled on you again.
This time it’s the lucky Brits who’ve been love-bombed with his largesse. And naturally, the Booksellers Association and The Guardian, on their usual anti-Amazon hate tear, have lapped it up with long sloppy wet tongues. “Bestselling author and bookshop devotee, James Patterson, is to donate £250,000 [$424,500] to independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland in an unprecedented show of financial support by an individual for the sector,” announces the BA, featuring a 2.24-minute James Patterson video starring James Patterson to spread the word to the Brits. Independent UK bookstores with a turnover below £1 million ($1.7 million) and a dedicated children’s book section can apply for grants of £250-£5,000 ($425-$8500) each.
“What a fantastic way to celebrate the start of this year’s Independent Booksellers Week,” says Tim Godfray, BA Chief Executive. “This is good news for bookshops and anyone who loves reading. We are delighted that James Patterson is acting on his love of bookshops and his appreciation of their vital importance to cultural and community life.”
Cynical little ol’me for thinking that there’s a smidge of self-promotion about this whole exercise. After all, I don’t see much here about support for struggling authors, self-published or otherwise. And I’m not sure if all that money Patterson lays out comes back to him through higher sales of his books. The name and face of James Patterson certainly seem to bulk very large at all points in this public-spirited gesture. But even if it doesn’t earn him a dime, it’s surely worth it. After all, ego-gratification is beyond price.