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Grass Valley’s Book Seller gets grant from author James Patterson

Ivan Natividad
Staff Writer
The Book Seller staff members Brittany Blake (left), Angie Kelse and Tyrra Courtney (right), hold a sign at the store thanking author James Patterson for giving the store a grant to renovate the children's book section.
submitted photo |

The Book Seller, a Grass Valley bookstore located on the 100 block of Mill Street in Grass Valley, announced last week that it was the recipient of an independent bookstore grant from best-selling author James Patterson.

“All of us at The Book Seller cannot thank James Patterson enough for his generous donation,” store owner Kit Hattem said. “By doing so, he has brightened the lives of us all and in turn enriched our community and its littlest readers.”

Last fall, Patterson announced that he would offer a million dollars in grants to independent bookstores with children’s departments around the country to combat the tide of electronic readers and online concerns many communities have had after losing their local bookstores.

In December, Hattem said The Book Seller wrote a letter to Patterson for consideration of one of his grants and asked for support from their customers and the local community to email and write Patterson.

“We put it out there on Facebook and other social media outlets, and people responded,” Hattem said. “It was great.”

Hattem said they found out in May that they were the recipients of a $3,500 grant from Patterson, which will help them renovate and redesign the store’s children’s section. Over the next month, the store’s Kid’s Cellar will be going through some changes, which will include a series of murals to be displayed and designed by local artist Gwynn Tavares. Hattem said the changes will help them ramp up their children’s book section.

“Its been a hard several years,” Hattem said. “But we’ve hung in there and have made some changes, pay cuts and other things to stay afloat because we feel like it’s a real commitment for us to stay in business and serve the community. But its been really, really hard.”

Patterson, 66, author of the Alex Cross detective books, young-adult fiction, nonfiction and romance novels, has been one the most vocal writers in the industry in terms of speaking out on the publishing industry’s financial dilemma. In a February New York Times article, Patterson said people needed to go visit bookstores more often and give kids the opportunity to read more broadly.

“I just want to get people more aware and involved in what’s going on here, which is that with the advent of e-books, we either have a great opportunity or a great problem,” Patterson told the New York Times. “Our bookstores in America are at risk. Publishing and publishers as we’ve known them are at stake. To some extent, the future of American literature is at stake.”

To date, Patterson has given half a million dollars to bookstores around the nation and plans to give away the remaining funds to independent bookstores in the coming fall and winter.

“We are so grateful to Mr. Patterson for his generosity and belief in our community, and of course, to the many people who wrote to him with their kind words of support on our behalf,” Hattem said.

For more information on The Book Seller, go to http://www.thebookseller.biz/. To apply for a Patterson grant go to http://www.jamespatterson.com/booksellers.

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email inatividad@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.

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