The Book Industry Charitable Foundation [Binc] hopscotched around the country this past month, attending seven out of eight regional booksellers trade shows (the exception was NEIBA, which overlapped with PNBA and partially with Heartland). Its goal, office manager Kit Steinaway declared before MPIBA booksellers assembled in Denver last week, was to “engage the entire book industry in a common purpose: book people helping book people.” Binc raised $7,361 at the seven shows; the funds will be used to aid booksellers facing financial hardship and/or emergency circumstances.
Not only did Binc executive director Pamela French or Steinaway staff an information table at each of the seven trade shows one or the other attended, but Binc was also the beneficiary of fundraising events held at two of the shows. The fundraisers ranged from the flashy, such as a “Trivia for Cheaters” contest at SIBA featuring the Doors’ drummer, John Densmore, which raised $1,478.75, to a much less flashy, but just as competitive, silent auction for books and other literary swag, held at Heartland, which raised $5,812.
With natural disasters devastating certain areas of the country this past year, Binc ended up assisting 11 booksellers in the Mid Atlantic region after Hurricane Sandy last fall and, more recently, five booksellers in Colorado impacted by the recent floods (a sixth application is being processed). It also awarded $100,000 in academic scholarships this past year to 32 booksellers, former Borders employees, and their dependents; the organization expects to award $200,000 in academic scholarships in 2014.
Weary from their travels during a much more contracted regional trade show season than is typical, French and Steinaway are pleased that their efforts to raise awareness among booksellers about Binc have been effective. Steinaway related that when she asked the 155 MPIBA booksellers at their membership meeting in Denver how many knew about Binc, almost every hand went up.
“Last year at this time, we would have had two hands up,” she commented, “We’re making progress.”