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NEW YORK (AP) - Best-selling author James Patterson is giving away $1 million of his own money to independent bookstores.

On Wednesday, Patterson announced the first round of 55 stores to receive over $267,000 in funds. The remaining $750,000 will be given out in stages throughout the year.

Patterson's publisher, Hachette Book Group, released a statement saying the author feels that bookstores are vital to communities and that they leave a lasting love of reading in children and adults.

The bookstores can do whatever they want with the grants, which range from $2,000 to $15,000.

Patterson's books have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide, making him among the world's most prolific and popular writers.

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