Saturday was National Buy a Book Day and once again, we went out as a family and . . . you guessed it . . . bought books!

I’ve asked people to do three things in honor of National Buy a Book Day:

1. On September 7th, buy a book

2. Let me know through various social media outlets which books you bought

3. Donate any money you have left over from buying books to the National Buy a Book Day Foundation.

We have the first one down, right? At least, I’ve already told you I went out and bought books.

As for the second point, this year, I bought for myself The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie, because I’ve been meaning to read Joe Abercrombie for a while now after getting lots of recommendations from people who know me, so now I will. I bought this at a local Barnes & Noble for full price. That’s what I like to call a Full Buy a Book Day. Living author, full price, everybody gets paid. But I also went the other direction and bought The Complete Novels and Selected Tales of Nathaniel Hawthorne from Half Price Books because used bookstores need love too. And buying a used book by a dead author, and I’ll bet all of Hawthorne’s stuff is in the public domain, means no one was cheated out of a royalty. It’s an attractive book, too. Very old school Modern Library Giant edition, which is not as old as it looks since the publisher’s address on the dust jacket has a zip code, but it’s about the content, right?

It's mine now!

It’s mine now!

My son, after a half-hearted attempt to sub in “Steam money” in place of a book (and that’s not some kind of steampunk reference, he’s talking about the online video game retailer) settled on a Walking Dead graphic novel. My wife opted for the new book by Sophie Kinsella, Wedding Night. She’s a Sophie Kinsella fan. My daughter went with Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. I guess I raised a couple of comics nerds. Go me!

You can tell me what you bought here or on the GoodReads group, which you should totally join, or on the Facebook Page, or by replying to our Twitter feed, which you should follow: @buyabookday and don’t forget to use the hashtags #september7 and #buyabookday.

As for the third thing.

Yes, we need your money.

The National Buy a Book Day Foundation is a 100% volunteer organization. I get no salary, and neither does anyone else involved. We have about $10 per month in actual organizational expenses, maybe $200 per year all in with various fees and so on. That means pretty near every last penny of your donation goes to supporting the National Buy a Book Day movement, and first things first, it’ll help us file our Federal 501(c)3 paperwork, which costs a little less than $1000 but once we’re a registered 501(c)3 organization we can start to ask for corporate donations, and larger, tax-deductable donations. Plans? A scholarship fund. Point-of-sale materials for any bookseller who wants them. Public awareness programs that will help us make this a truly national event.

We need your money, and have made it as easy as we can to let you donate, online, via PayPal or credit card. Just go to the National Buy a Book Day Foundation web site and make a donation in any amount. Got five bucks? We’ll take it!

This is not a program to help rich people get richer. This is a program to support the thousands of Americans who depend on books to make a living. And if you think your local bookseller is “rich” . . . People who work at publishing houses are not rich. People who work at print shops and distributors, and the overwhelming majority of your favorite authors, are not rich.

Not in dollars anyway, but we’re rich in one thing: our shared love of books.

Happy National Buy a Book Day!


—Philip Athans




About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, ( is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
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1 Response to BOUGHT!

  1. I bought two books: “Miami Blues” by Charles Willeford and “Shades of Milk and Honey” by Mary Robinette Kowal. I purchased them at Elliot Bay Books on Capitol Hill. Then stopped off at the library and bought ( I prefer ‘rescued’) “Spook Country” by William Gibson for a buck at the FOL shelf.

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