A young Melton trader is celebrating after winning a slice of a fund set up by a best-selling crime writer to support independent bookshops and encourage more children to read.
Catherine Baker (24), who has been running Melton Bookshop for two years, is to receive hundreds of pounds to help her compete with the high street’s large multiple book sellers.
The Leicester Street business is one of only 68 in the UK and Ireland to be allocated cash from £120,000 set aside by James Patterson in his initiative this year.
Catherine, who saved the Melton store as an independent bookshop after the previous owner retired, plans to use the money to improve the lighting and furnishings in the shop, expand her storage space to help her supply more books to schools and to make her administration system less time-consuming.
She said: “I’m absolutely chuffed to get this donation. I’ve had so many refusals when I’ve applied for grants like this and I’m sure it’s because I am so young. The fact James Patterson is pledging this money is an amazing thing to do and it will really help a small business like mine.”
The American author, who is best known for his series of novels about fictional psychologist Alex Cross, said: “I have been completely overwhelmed by just how many people have applied for the grants and impressed and enthused by the calibre of the applications.
“I have worked to identify independent bookshops for whom this money may make a difference and I’m excited to follow their progress.”
Mr Patterson also helped 73 independent bookshops from these islands last year by allocating £130,000.