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James Patterson sends 'holiday bonus' to Charlottesville bookstore

2nd Act Books on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall is putting a donation from bestselling author James Patterson to use and bringing something rarely seen at a used bookstore to its shelves: new books.

The writer behind such works "Along Came a Spider" and "Kiss the Girls" who’s co-written books with the likes of Bill Clinton and Dolly Parton hands out $300,000 of his own money each year to independent bookstores through his Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program. Every year, 600 member bookstores of the American Booksellers Association receive $500 checks benefit from Patterson’s largesse.

"He is very generous to share the wealth — particularly this time of year," Daphne Spain, owner of 2nd Act, told The Daily Progress. "He calls it a ‘holiday bonus’ for independent booksellers."

The bonuses is meant to acknowledge the role independent bookstores play as community anchors, gathering places and catalysts for reading.

Spain said that 2nd Act will use its windfall to curate a collection of new books recommended by staff members.

"We’re a used bookstore," Spain said. "My manager, Charlie Newman-Johnson, suggested we start carrying a few new books that the staff recommends. That’s what we’re going to do; we’re going to pay for new books."

Having new books with staff recommendations available will help the used bookstore extend its reach to readers for whom only fresh tomes will do.

"Many of our books are in like-new condition. Many are hardbacks. Many are signed by the authors. All are half-price," Spain said. "You can always find something. It’s like a scavenger hunt."


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