When we began Read Furiously, it came from a place of protest. We were fed up with a system that consistently gave a voice to the wrong people (and in many ways, the larger part of the publishing industry still does this) and valued profits over the people who put their blood, sweat, and tears into their written word. We couldn’t find enough seats at the table, so we built our own table and are adding seats every day. My greatest joy is watching our indie publishing company stretch and grow throughout the year - we are always learning, always meeting new people who support our mission, and always finding new opportunities to push forward.
Which brings us to this year’s Giving Tuesday. We love the cultural conversation that Giving Tuesday invokes, especially at a time where consumerism leads the charge (and 16% of Americans will go into debt just to purchase holiday presents). Today is a reminder that you shop your values - you can control which companies and organizations deserve your patronage and make a positive change to someone’s life. Throughout the year, we try our best to maintain this spirit of positive change through our books and our community outreach.
This year, we are proud to say that we have worked very hard to support these causes through our efforts at Read Furiously:
- On a local level, we’ve built a Little Free Library in the community park in West Trenton, NJ. We are so proud to be a part of this program and to introduce our LFL, Charter #133922, as a contribution to literacy building in our local area. We have provided Read Furiously titles as well as gently used books for adults, teens, and children. It’s been really fun sharing these books with our Little Free Library patrons, especially in September when we put together pencil cases filled with school supplies, anti-bacterial wipes, and bookmarks for the new school year. In addition, Nicole Zamlout, author of All These Little Stars, spent her summer donating copies of her book to Little Free Libraries around NJ. Little Free Libraries are a great way to extend the life of books that need new readers and to share the love of stories with your community.
- With the purchase of every Read Furiously title, we donate a portion of our net proceeds to causes that help support literacy awareness. This includes NJ’s Bridge of Books Foundation (through the sale of our NJ Anthology series), an organization that provides books to underserved communities around NJ, and Room to Read, an organization that pushes for literacy and gender equality through literacy education on a global scale. Having books is a beautiful privilege and we want to support the organizations that will help get books to those who need them.
- This year, we partnered with Samantha Mann, the author of I Feel Love: Notes on Queer Joy to donate $1,000 from our online bookshop sales of her anthology to TENT, an organization in Texas that provides education and resources to further gender-diverse equality in Texas. Read Furiously has also donated copies of her book to EDGE NJ, an organization that provides resources to those living with HIV and to those in the LGBTQIA+ community. These are causes very close to our heart as well since some of our authors, contributors, and one of our publishers identify as members of the queer community.
- In the Read Furiously Bookshop, we have partnered with Shopify, Planet, and EcoEnclose to ensure all orders placed through our online bookstore will be shipped completely carbon neutral using recyclable packaging materials. Also with every purchase in our online bookstore, we will donate 10% of the purchase evenly across Reading is Fundamental and Bridge of Books Foundation. A few of our Read Furiously authors were impacted by the Reading is Fundamental (RIF) program as children and this access to books gave them a lifelong love of reading, which is apparent in the meaningful work that they produce.
If you are unable to give anything financially, use this day to donate an old book to a Little Free Library, share your time with someone who needs it most, share ideas for change, or help someone in your community. Giving time, kindness, presence, love or a voice to those who need it is never wasted.
Thank you to our authors who share these values with us and constantly find ways to make their corner of the world better.
In closing, Furious Readers, we thank you for your support. We wish you a blessed holiday season with your loved ones and look forward to making more changes in 2023.