Asheville-based Biblio gets boost from Neil Gaiman to build libraries in Bolivia


Award-winning author Neil Gaiman has teamed up with Asheville-based bookseller to help increase literacy and build libraries in rural Bolivia.

Here’s how it works: Customers who click “buy” to purchase one of Gaiman’s books from his website are now directed to to complete their purchase. A percentage of every order placed on referred from will be donated to BiblioWorks, the nonprofit arm of Biblio.

BiblioWorks just finished building its 12th library in Bolivia. It’s stated mission is “to provide impoverished communities in rural Bolivia with tools and resources to develop sustainable literacy and education programs through funding and book and material donations for schools, libraries, and cultural institutions.”

Brendan Sherar and Allen Singleton of Asheville started in 2003. Today, it is the largest independent online book marketplace for used, rare, and out of print books.  It has more than 100 million books for sale from more than 4,500 bookstores and booksellers in countries around the world. Biblio is wholly owned and operated by Biblio, Inc., a privately held company with a commitment to a triple bottom line, in part through both its environmental program, ecosend, and its work with Biblio Charitable Works.

Gaiman is an internationally acclaimed author of four novels and the recipient of the Hugo Award, Newbery Medal and Carnegie Medal in Literature.

In an email exchange, I asked spokeswoman Amber Shehan for a few more details about this unique partnership. First I asked how the partnership came about and if Gaiman has this relationship with anyone else. Shehan replied:

Hey J – He’s just doing it with us. He wanted to support indie and used bookshops, so switched the site’s “buy” option to landing pages.

Gaiman and his web team heard of us – we’ve tweeted at each other a time or two before, and also we are all friends of and work to support indie bookshops. Neil and his web team changed their buy links to the Biblio ISBN landing pages for each of his books in early April. We noticed the traffic and started a chat, and we offered to provide a percentage of the referred traffic to his choice of literacy programs, or to BiblioWorks, and they accepted!

Next I asked if BiblioWorks had plans for a 13th library, as well as any plans for the upcoming Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday. Here’s Amber again:

As far as we are concerned, we’ll happily build libraries with Neil as long as there is traffic referred from his site to Biblio! We’re considering seeking other authors who might be willing to share the same arrangement!

BiblioWorks is not doing anything special for the Indy Bookstore Day, nor is Biblio itself, as that tends to be focused on physically visiting the shops and supporting them directly. We will of course share, tweet, and otherwise share information about finding local bookshops in your area, but nothing specific to that promotion. We do love Spellbound, Malaprops, and Downtown Books and News and the rest of our local bookshops.

BiblioWorks just finished their 4th Annual Festival for Reading in Sucre, Bolivia, which had more than 1000 participants, 10 schools, 20 institutions with stands, and 1500 prizes given out to students and participants to share the love of literacy. There are always plans in works for more libraries, but there is not a specific location lined up for the 13th library at this time. Librarian training and library maintenance is always ongoing, and there is always a need for donations of money or time spent on the ground as volunteers in Bolivia.


Lindig Harris May 2, 2015 - 8:11 am

Yay, Brendan (and BiblioWorks)! I have fond memories of working with you at DBN and then watching your amazing progress. And Gaiman is a good guy. Nice combo.

Biblio May 12, 2015 - 11:54 am

We just now noticed your kind comment, Lindig. Thank you! Brendan and Stephen say “Hello!”

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