Top-earning author James Patterson donates $1m to independent bookshops


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The Independent Culture

His books are supermarket staples, but best-selling author James Patterson has pledged $1m to save ailing independent bookshops

The 66-year-old writer, who collaborates with other authors to pump out more than ten books every year, announced on CBS’s This Morning that he wants to prevent bookstores disappearing from communities across the US.

“We’re making this big transition right now to e-books and that’s fine and good and terrific and wonderful,” the author said.

“But we’re not doing it in an organised, sane, civilised way, so what’s happening right now is a lot of bookstores are disappearing, a lot of libraries are disappearing or they’re not being funded.

“School libraries are not being funded as well. This is not a good thing.”

The author of the Alex Cross series of novels said he didn’t mind his money going to bookshop staff “who haven’t had a bonus in seven years”, and said the only criteria for financial help are that the store is “viable” and has a children’s section.

Children’s literacy and access to books are big concerns of Patterson’s. Earlier this year he took out adverts on the front of The New York Times Book Review and Publishers Weekly asking: “Who will save our books? Our bookstores? Our libraries?”

He believes that the major publishing houses are not doing enough to secure literature’s future, warning: “Publishers are sitting around saying: ‘Woe is me.’ Get in attack mode.”

According to Forbes, Patterson earned $91m last year, making him the second highest-earning author behind 50 Shades writer EL James.