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James Patterson is Santa Claus to indie booksellers

City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, CA—one of many shops where booksellers received Patterson's holiday bonuses.
Getty Images/Robert Alexander
City Lights bookstore in San Francisco—one of many shops where booksellers received James Patterson’s holiday bonuses.
By Jenni Avins
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The highest-paid author in the world is spreading some of his wealth to indie booksellers. James Patterson, the wildly prolific author of more than 150 books—including the Alex Cross thriller series and the 2018 Bill Clinton collaboration The President Is Missing—this week awarded 500 booksellers at independent bookstores around the US with $500 holiday bonuses. Patterson’s bonus program, now in its sixth year, has awarded over $1.3 million to date, according to Publishers Weekly.

At Hills & Hamlets, a tiny bookstore in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, Patience Allan-Glick was almost too busy to discuss her $500 award, manning the shelves and register alone on a busy Sunday.

“Make it quick and maybe I can help you,” Allan-Glick said over the phone, before addressing a customer: “You’re gonna like this one, it’s a really beautiful copy.”

The bookseller said she knew the store’s husband-and-wife owners had entered her in the contest. “Regular customers appreciate my knowledge of the books, and my passion for what I do,” she said of her qualifications, adding that before joining Hills & Hamlets three years ago she worked at a library and volunteered reading books to children. “One of my specialties is the kids’ section. I’m a grandma.”

She said one of her current favorite children’s titles is Baby Monkey, Private Eye. “It’s what I call a ‘gap’ book,” says Allan-Glick, describing how it fills a gap between picture books and chapter books, for children who are just learning to read. “The story is just funny and cute,” she says.  “An adult will read it to them once, and then they can really go and read it on their own.”

She also loves Ann Patchett’s Lambslide, about some young sheep who misunderstand an overheard conversation about a political landslide and embark on a search for a slide made just for them.

It was clear that Allan-Glick could talk children’s books all day, so her plans for her $500 bonus came as no surprise: “I’m going to buy books,” she said. “Probably books for the grandkids.”

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