Literature

Houston Bookstore Employee Receives Bonus From Best-Selling Author

James Patterson is giving $250,000 in holiday bonuses to 85 employees at independent bookstores, in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

Best-selling author James Patterson is giving $1.75 million to school libraries to promote literacy. And he’s also giving holiday bonuses to independent bookstore employees around the country. One recipient is an employee at Brazos Bookstore in Houston.

James Patterson is known for his novels about fictional psychologist Alex Cross, and his books have sold more than 300 million copies. He holds the Guinness World Record for being the first person to sell a million e-books. But hard copies are his passion, and Patterson is giving $250,000 in holiday bonuses to 85 employees at independent bookstores, in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

Mark Haber with Brazos Bookstore learned about his bonus through an email. He suspects a mystery fellow employee nominated him.

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“It was basically Mr. Patterson inviting anyone to write in and nominate a bookseller that they thought really worked hard and spread a love of reading and literature. I don’t know at some point in the future if they’ll tell you who kind of nominated you on their behalf,” he said. “So I don’t really know!”

Anyone could have nominated Haber, by filling out an online form and describing in 250 words or less why this bookseller deserves a holiday bonus. Haber was a middle school and high school teacher, and has a passion for translated works.

“After years and years of reading, I kind of looked back and realized most of what of what I was reading had been translated from another language,” Haber said. “I don’t think even high school students realize how much they read is translated — you know, Franz Kafka, Dostoyevsky…”  

James Patterson has donated hundreds of thousands of books and millions of dollars to promote reading. He says he wants to reward sellers who perhaps recommended one of your favorite books this year, or employees who might stay late every evening to keep the store in top shape, or who are making a difference in their communities.

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