It’s amazing how quickly a good cause can take hold and grow into a small movement.
Only a few days ago, I was contacted via my friends at Backword Books. They wanted me and the other Backword authors to know about an effort launched on the by author Ed Patterson. It seems Patterson, a former military man himself, had been contacted by soldiers with Kindles — in fact, he learned that soldiers rely on Kindles for reading more and more. Boards
Patterson’s idea? Let’s get these soldiers some free ebooks!
It started slowly — Patterson would email us with the names and emails of soldiers who wanted Kindle books, and we would email ebook files to the soldiers. It started with a half-dozen authors, and it was focused on the Kindle.
Then it quickly became more sophisticated. First, it became clear that more soldiers could participate if we went beyond the Kindle. Then, Smashwords, a great ebook site that allows authors to download coupons became the focus of a more automated approach. Set it up correctly, and you can create a coupon that makes your book free to selected readers.
Now, after only a few days, two dozen authors are involved. The flow of ebooks to soldiers is increasing.
Best of all, the soldiers are grateful:
- From Japan, a Captain wrote to me: “Thank you so much. I really appreciate this wonderful gift.”
- From the Mom of a soldier about to deploy: “I’m in the process of getting his Kindle ready for him. This means so much to both of us to know that so many people care.”
The idea is spreading and getting more structured support already, only after a few days since it kicked off. In addition to coverage in the blogosphere, the CEO of Smashwords has signaled his support, and is devising ways to make it easier for soldiers to get ebooks through Smashwords.
The day after September 11th, while we argue about health care and worry over our economy and get frustrated in traffic and deal with all the little hassles of daily life, we need to remember the men and women of the US military who are diligently and selflessly sacrificing to protect and defend this country.
They need, more than anyone, some good books to read.