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James Patterson Awards Grant to Phoenix Books

Essex, Vermont – February 20, 2014:  On Wednesday, February 19th, Phoenix Books received something unusual in the mail: A letter from bestselling author James Patterson, along with a $5000 check.

Back in September of 2013, Patterson appeared on CBS This Morning to announce his pledge to give $1 million to independent bookstores.  The author invited bookstores with children's departments to send in informal submissions detailing how they would use the grant money.  All sorts of ideas were welcomed, ranging from funding an employee bonus to fixing a computer system. The program expands on Patterson's work via, a web site designed to help parents, teachers, and librarians ignite the next generation’s excitement about reading.

Phoenix Books' own grant submission discussed the prospect of expanding on the store's already successful community outreach program by reaching out to under-served populations, strengthening partnerships with local schools, and establishing staff incentives for literacy-related volunteer work.  Patterson's reply reads, in part, "it was clear to me that Phoenix Books would be a worthy recipient of the funds.  Very worthy..... I hope that this check will allow you to continue doing good work in your store."

Beth Wagner, Phoenix Books' children's book buyer, says, "We are absolutely thrilled and grateful to receive a grant from James Patterson's $1 million indie bookstore campaign. Like Mr. Patterson, we wholeheartedly believe that developing a love of reading in children is one of most important things we can do. Phoenix Books has always been committed to serving our local schools and libraries, and the generosity of Mr. Patterson will allow us to step up our outreach efforts."  Co-owner Mike DeSanto adds, "This grant allows Phoenix Books to do something for the community that we would otherwise not have been able to do, and for this we feel grateful and privileged."

The round of grants that went out this last week totaled $267,000 to 55 bookstores as well as California Bookstore Day.  Phoenix Books was one of just two Vermont bookstores included in this distribution, the other being Norwich Bookstore.  Patterson is still taking submissions, and the rest of the $1 million will be disbursed in stages during the rest of the year.

As Julie Bosman reported in the New York Times, "Mr. Patterson, the 66-year-old author of the Alex Cross detective books, young-adult fiction, nonfiction and even romance novels, has been one of the loudest voices in the book world warning about the publishing industry’s troubles. He is also one of the industry’s wealthiest writers. Each year, his publisher, Hachette, releases about 13 of his books, which seem to occupy semi-permanent spots on the best-seller lists. (From 2006 to 2010, Mr. Patterson’s books accounted for one out of every 17 hardcover novels purchased in the United States.)"

About Phoenix Books:
Phoenix Books was established in 2007 on the principles of social responsibility, community, and sustainability, and is a proud member of Local First Vermont and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. Phoenix Books Burlington and Phoenix Books Essex are locally-owned, independent bookstores.  Our Essex location also houses a gallery and cafe. Whenever possible, Phoenix Books sources eco-friendly products from Fair Trade/Green Certified companies.  Seven Days readers voted Phoenix Books the "Best Bookstore in Chittenden County" for the newspaper's 2013 Daysie Awards. Phoenix Books is located in Burlington at 191 Bank Street and in Essex at 21 Essex Way, #407. For more information, visit