STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And one of the bookstores on James Patterson's list is Bookshop Santa Cruz.
CASEY COONERTY: We're located in the heart of downtown Santa Cruz.
INSKEEP: That's Casey Coonerty, the owner of the bookstore.
COONERTY: I took over from my father about eight years ago. So we're a second-generation bookstore.
INSKEEP: And in the store's 40 years, the Coonertys has had to face down more than their share of challenges.
COONERTY: In 1989 there was a major earthquake that hit and it destroyed about 75 percent of downtown Santa Cruz. And Bookshop Santa Cruz was completely destroyed.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
For the next three years, the Coonertys sold books out of a tent in a parking lot until they could finally move back into their space. A few years after that, a Borders opened on the street and sales dropped by 30 percent. Then came another competitor.
COONERTY: Obviously Amazon, and what a huge player they are in our market, is really challenging for independent bookstores.
MONTAGNE: And then there are e-books.
COONERTY: Eight years ago, nobody was talking about e-books. And now you think that e-books takes about 30 percent of the market. So independent bookstores have really had to learn to adapt.
MONTAGNE: And one way to adapt is by redefining customer service. Coonerty now presents dozens of author events every year.
COONERTY: Michael Pollan and Isabel Allende or Ann Patchett or Bill Bryson. We have Lorrie Moore and her new short story collection. And we have David Sibley...
INSKEEP: Some of the events they're put on. Now, last fall, when Casey heard what James Patterson was doing, she applied for $4,500 to bring children's authors to local schools and the store. And she got the money.
COONERTY: We are just ecstatic that we got that grant. And it's going to make such a difference.
INSKEEP: That's Casey Coonerty, owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz and one of the recipients of funding from author James Patterson's million-dollar initiative to help independent booksellers.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.