Bethel Bookseller Gets Bonus From Bestselling Author James Patterson

BETHEL, Conn. — Stephen Hutchinson, who works at Byrd’s Books in Bethel, was one of 300 independent booksellers who received grants from bestselling author James Patterson. 

Stephen Hutchinson of Byrd's Bookstore
Stephen Hutchinson of Byrd's Bookstore Photo Credit: Contributed

Patterson announced grants totaling $350,000 (an increase of $100,000 over previous years) as part of his Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program. 

Patterson partnered with the American Booksellers Association to distribute the funds, which were awarded to individual booksellers in amounts ranging from $750 to $1,250. (The full list of the recipients is at

The grant application asked one question: “Why does this bookseller deserve a holiday bonus?” 

Patterson personally selected winners from bookstores all across the country, and many of the recipients come from areas hard hit by natural disasters, including Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Copperfield’s in Napa, and various stores in Florida. Nominated booksellers were praised for their perseverance in the face of these hardships, as well as for their contagious enthusiasm, skilled hand-selling, innovation, and, most importantly, dedication to books and reading.

“I was thrilled to increase the donation amount of this year’s bonuses given the overwhelming response we’ve had to past campaigns,” said Patterson. “This holiday season, in particular, underscored how deserving these booksellers are — many of the recipients came from stores that dealt with major damage from hurricanes and wildfires, in addition to the challenges they faced in an ever-changing retail environment. These bonuses are my humble acknowledgment of their commitment to putting books into the hands of readers, and I hope these grants make a positive difference in their lives.”

American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher said, “With this expansion of his Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program, James Patterson continues to demonstrate his extraordinary commitment to literacy and independent booksellers. ... Thanks to his ongoing generosity, over twice as many independent booksellers who are working so hard to serve their communities by connecting authors and readers of all ages will receive well-earned bonuses.”

Over the past decade, Patterson has given away over a million books to students and visited hundreds of schools to advocate for youth literacy.

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