Last year James Patterson offered a Valentine to independent booksellers by donating $1 million in grants to 178 bookstores. This holiday season the bestselling author/philanthropist is distributing $250,000 to individual booksellers with holiday bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

“This is to keep hammering at the need that’s out there for our bookstores and booksellers," Patterson said. "Booksellers should be considered heroes in our society." The author got the idea of offering bonuses from several applications for bookstore grants. One in particular struck him. John Hugo at Andover Bookstore in Andover, Mass., wanted to give his father, who hadn't received a pay raise in years, a bonus. “[Booksellers] should be rewarded for spreading the joy of reading,” Patterson added. “These holiday bonuses are my humble acknowledgment of the important work they do all year.”

The American Booksellers Association is partnering with Patterson on the program and is accepting applications on a specially designated portion of its website. Booksellers, publishers, and readers are encouraged to nominate a favorite bookseller by describing, in 250 words or less, why the person deserves a bonus. The deadline for applications is November 1. Patterson will personally review and select the bonus recipients. Checks will be mailed the first two weeks of December; a complete list of recipients will be announced the week of December 14.

The money for the bonuses comes from the “pro bono” Jimmy Patterson children’s book imprint the author launched at BEA, in May. Patterson is donating the profits generated by the imprint's books toward funding various programs: scholarships for teachers, support efforts for bookstores and school libraries, and his ReadKiddoRead website (which promotes reading).

The ABA expressed its appreciation with a comment from ABA CEO Oren Teicher, who said: "We are extremely grateful to James Patterson, who once again has shown himself to be a singular champion for literacy and independent booksellers.”