Written by Jill Nossa Friday, 13 June 2014 00:00
Independent bookstore Forest Books in Locust Valley was a recipient of a $2,500 grant by novelist James Patterson last month. Store owner Tracey Aledort had the pleasure of meeting Patterson at the BookExpo America publishing convention at the Javitts Center in Manhattan on Wednesday, May 28.
“He was very nice, and super generous,” Aledort says. “I told him, ‘Thank you, this is going to help me so much’ and also told him I was the one who Nelson DeMille called about. He said, “Oh, you’re the one! It could’ve gone either way’ but I think it helped, having a famous author call on my behalf.”
Forest Books hosts book signings and readings for local authors, including DeMille, who had a book signing at the store last fall.
Patterson has pledged to give $1 million to aid independent booksellers across the United States. This is the second round of funding in Patterson’s effort, in which 43 bookstores around the nation received $268,000 in aid.
Aledort says she had heard that the second round was coming and wrote to him herself, as well as having customers write to him. She was one of four independent booksellers on the panel who received grant money from Patterson.
“It was a bad winter - this couldn’t have happened at a better time,” says Aledort. The money is a welcome relief for the struggling business, and the press and recognition has been good for morale.
Aledort says the money will mainly go
toward paying bills since the harsh winter saw a drop in sales. She said that she expects to receive a “party kit” from Patterson as a promotion for his Middle School book series, so she’ll be planning a party for kids sometime this summer
Aledort bought Forest Books in 2002. The bookstore had been in Glen Cove on Forest Avenue for more than 20 years, but was going under. With the help of some generous customers, Aledort says she was able to save the store by relocating to it to Locust Valley three years ago.
She praises the loyalty of her customers; with the efforts of Bavyille Elementary students, she was nominated for a Women’s National Book Association Pannel Award and Forest Books was one of five finalists.
With Father’s Day coming up, browsing the bookstore for a gift might be a good idea; the store has gift certificates available and Aledort says some of the popular new titles out right now are Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes, Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and Unlucky 13 by James Patterson.
Booksellers interested in applying for the Patterson grant program can visit jamespatterson.com/booksellers. The only requirements are that the business must be viable and have a children’s book section.
Forest Books is at 182 Birch Hill Rd. in Locust Valley.