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Authors Unite to Support Bookstores During COVID-19 Economy

June 15, 2020

Contact: Alisse Goldsmith-Wissman | Publicity Manager
312.337.0747 | [email protected]

CHICAGO, IL — What started as a conversation between authors about how to give back to independent bookstore owners during their time of economic need has quickly evolved into not just a fundraising anthology but also a grassroots movement of hope.

Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort During the Time of COVID-19 is a collection of essays, poems and interviews to serve as a lifeline into connecting and thriving during this stressful time of isolation as well as a historical perspective that will remain relevant for years to come. This anthology, curated by journalist and author Jennifer Haupt, will be published by Central Avenue Publishing with a release date of September 1, 2020. It will be distributed to the trade by Independent Publishers Group (IPG).

The diverse roster of more than 75 bestselling and up-and-coming contributing authors includes: Faith Adiele, Kwame Alexander, Jenna Blum, Andre Dubus III, Jamie Ford, Nikki Giovanni, Jane Hirshfield, Pam Houston, Jean Kwok, Devi S. Laskar, Caroline Leavitt, Ada Limón, Dani Shapiro, Garth Stein, Luis Alberto Urrea and Lidia Yuknavitch.

It all began on April 14, after a month of sheltering in place, when Ms. Haupt, who lives in Seattle, posted a plea on Facebook: Putting this into the universe: I've been struggling with how to do something positive during this time of hardship for many. I don't have money but I DO have a strong community of compassionate writers and readers. SO: I'm putting together a collection of interviews and essays on Love and Comfort During COVID-19. The net profits will go to The Book Industry Charitable Foundation to benefit the bookstore owners who have supported readers and writers and now need our help. THANK YOU!

"I was looking for some way to make a dent in the overwhelming grief and devastation, and I hoped other authors would feel the same way," says Haupt, who then approached her publisher, Michelle Halket at Central Avenue Publishing, with the idea. "My publisher agreed to donate her services and a few bestselling authors came on board, then the whole thing started snowballing. Other authors sent me emails that they were feeling the same way and together we could use our words to do something positive—both spiritually and financially."

"Every single one of us has a story (or several) of how independent booksellers have supported us and our books. When Jennifer came to me, I knew I had to be a part of it," Halket says. "Since everyone is donating their time, talent and expertise, we expect the contribution to be significant."

"Since the Foundation was created in 1996 we have always and continue to serve booksellers who need a helping hand with personal household expenses such as rent, mortgage, utilities, medical emergencies and other unforeseen emergency circumstances due to hardship. Binc has been able to meet the current need that sellers and store owners are facing thanks to the generosity of book lovers from across the nation. We are proud that we can say, ‘independent doesn’t mean alone.’ We are honored to be part of this anthology as it marks a time when this community came together in extraordinary ways," says Pamela French, Executive Director of BINC.

“IPG is pleased to support the Book Industry Charitable Foundation by donating our distribution fee for Alone Together to this important project. Independent publishers and bookstores, and the voices and community members they serve, are integral to a robust and diverse publishing community,” says Annette Hobbs Magier, VP of Marketing and Publicity at Independent Publishers Group.

This book is divided into four sections: Love, Grief, Comfort and Possibilities. The overarching theme is finding grace and humanity in this devastating time. Each section begins with one or several interviews by Ms. Haupt, who curates the popular Psychology Today blog, One True Thing, about how this age of isolation is changing us as individuals and a society.

About Independent Publishers Group:
Founded in 1971, IPG was the first organization specifically created for the purpose of marketing titles from independent presses to the book trade. Today, IPG’s wide reach into the book market includes distribution of both print and e-books from a wide array of publishers, digital printing and traditional publishing. With consistent growth year over year, IPG’s success has come from supporting and encouraging the growth of its publishing partners in the United States and worldwide. IPG was acquired by Chicago Review Press in 1987, and this acquisition formed the parent company Chicago Review Press, Inc., which now owns Chicago-based indie publishers Chicago Review Press and Triumph Books.

About The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation:
The Book Industry Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that coordinates charitable programs to strengthen the bookselling community. Established in 1996, the core program provides assistance to bookstore employees who have a demonstrated financial need arising from severe hardship and/or emergency circumstances. The organization has provided over $7 million in financial assistance and scholarships to more than 7,800 families. Additional information can be found at

About Central Avenue Publishing:
Central Avenue Publishing is a trade publisher of award-winning and bestselling poetry and fiction that explore the worst—and best—of humanity. They are distributed to the trade by Independent Publishers Group.