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Permlink Replies: 20 - Pages: 2 [ 1 2 | Next ] - Last Post: Jul 16, 2017 6:15 PM Last Post By: Melinda Clayton
Marc Jost

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Registered: 06/21/17
Troops stationed abroad?
Posted: Jul 15, 2017 8:11 AM
 
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What is Amazon's policy towards giving away a set number of books to U.S. soldiers stationed abroad? For example, if I said I wanted to offer 500 of my ebooks to American soldiers stationed in the Germany market place, will Amazon still insist on charging for the books? Would they still want the transfer fee? Please let me know if someone knows the facts on this matter. It would be great if all authors could do this without incurring prohibitive costs. It is the least we can do to show our appreciation for their sacrifice and service to our country.
angelakulig

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Re: Troops stationed abroad?
Posted: Jul 15, 2017 8:29 AM   in response to: Marc Jost in response to: Marc Jost
 
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Amazon doesn't have any type of program in place for doing things like that. Why not use the contact us button and suggest one?
Diana Persaud

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Re: Troops stationed abroad?
Posted: Jul 15, 2017 10:30 AM   in response to: Marc Jost in response to: Marc Jost
 
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Unless you are in KDP Select, you can send the files yourself. Why not contact someone who would be in charge of books or digital content and say you wish to send them an ebook. If they are interested, send it in mobi, epub and pdf formats if that's what they require.

It's a digital file and can be shared and distributed by anyone.

No need to involve Amazon.
Marc Jost

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Re: Troops stationed abroad?
Posted: Jul 15, 2017 11:28 AM   in response to: Diana Persaud in response to: Diana Persaud
 
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Thanks for the info but I am in my first thirty days of KS. I still think it would be a worthy cause to involve Amazon so a large number of authors would have the option to send pages to patriots. I am going to pursue this further thanks again for your input.
Notjohn

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Re: Troops stationed abroad?
Posted: Jul 15, 2017 11:56 AM   in response to: Marc Jost in response to: Marc Jost
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Some years ago, through SmashWords, a guy had a project to do just that. I eventually gave it up because most of the books went to dependents in the US, not to deployed troops, and because despite perhaps a thousand books given away, I never got one note of thanks.

But if you are interested (because I don't think Jeff Bezos is), you might investigate SmashWords. You would have to get out of Select, of course. The program had no effect on Amazon's price-matching.

Aha! It was called Operation Ebook Drop, and it was discontinued in 2013.

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

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http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com

Edited by: Notjohn on Jul 15, 2017 11:57 AM
Brad the wronger

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Re: Troops stationed abroad?
Posted: Jul 15, 2017 12:06 PM   in response to: Marc Jost in response to: Marc Jost
 
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Replied but sent to moderation. Must be that glitch that follows me around the forums.

The gist of it was: consider paperbacks instead of ebooks.

Edited by: Brad the wronger on Jul 15, 2017 12:06 PM
Melinda Clayton

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Re: Troops stationed abroad?
Posted: Jul 15, 2017 1:17 PM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
 
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As I read the OP I was trying to remember what that program was called. I doubt any of my books ever made it overseas, but I received several emails from people telling me they were unable to access via SmashWords and asking me to send the file directly to them. It felt very questionable by the time he ended it (Ed something, if I remember correctly).
booknookbiz

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Re: Troops stationed abroad?
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 1:23 AM   in response to: Melinda Clayton in response to: Melinda Clayton
 
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Melinda Clayton wrote:
As I read the OP I was trying to remember what that program was called. I doubt any of my books ever made it overseas, but I received several emails from people telling me they were unable to access via SmashWords and asking me to send the file directly to them. It felt very questionable by the time he ended it (Ed something, if I remember correctly).

That's because, if you think about it, of how dumb the whole thing is. I mean, come ON people, think about the logistics involved!

  • The eBooks aren't getting put on disks and shipped overseas to be distributed. Basically, it's ONE copy of ONE eBook, each, right?
  • Alternatively, the retailer, like Amazon, has to do the distribution, FOR the authors, because the authors don't have the information or ability to send eBooks directly to the soldiers' devices--right?
  • That means that Amazon would have to have the list of the soldiers, and their email addies/Amazon accounts, in order to credit the eBooks to the soldier's accounts/devices.
  • That means that in addition to the service members' list, they'd ALSO have to have the matching database--what book each soldier requested.
  • THEN, they'd have to assign someone to manually input all that data, or import it, or manually do whatever it is that's needed, in order to get File X to Soldier Y.
  • OH, and let's not forget--Amazon would also have to know which Amazon "device" the soldier wanted to read it upon.

Anyone else here seeing the issues?

And before ANYONE dares to say anything, I served. A long time ago, and far away, but I did. Nonetheless, this idea simply doesn't work very well. Like a lot of things around e-books, things that work well for print books (like signing books) don't work very well for eBooks. The idea of somehow magically sending some number of e-books to servicemembers just does not work well, for the reasons/logistics I mentioned, above, and then some.

Hitch
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Notjohn

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Re: Troops stationed abroad?
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 2:24 AM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
 
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It doesn't seem all that different from library loans. When I borrow a book from the state e-brary, if it is an epub, I download it directly from Overdrive, but if it's a Kindle edition I am sent to the Amazon store page to complete the process. It's not all that different from buying a book from Amazon. Naturally the trooper needs internet access, but from what I've seen of FOBs in the modern Army, American warfighters never are far from a wi-fi node. (In Vietnam, an FOB was a one-platoon outpost where one slept in a tent and ate C rations. In Iraq and Afghanistan, they all seemed to have air conditioning and Kentucky Fried Chicken.)

But perhaps it's more difficcult than I imagine. As posted,the Smashwords program did not last very long, maybe a couple years..

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog:
http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
Joe

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Registered: 06/01/17
Re: Troops stationed abroad?
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 4:41 AM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
 
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I participated in Operation Ebook Drop for years, and I got a couple of emails thanking me for the books every so often. The main site had many more from enlisted personnel who were very happy to get books to read. At one point, I couldn't even count how many emails I had cc'd on my email message to the troops.

Amazon certainly isn't going to do anything like this, I agree. The logistics of it would blow their minds. Smashwords was able to do it because they have the coupon system. We made our books free with a code, and people could download the books they wanted. It worked out great, very simple and straight-forward.

I am a veteran, and I was happy to do something that made life a little better for our military people. They don't get much, otherwise.
Marc Jost

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Registered: 06/21/17
Re: Troops stationed abroad?
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 4:57 AM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
 
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When I started this thread it was my intention to do something that might make a soldiers life a little less miserable. There is the smallest of possibilities that a book read in their spare time, might take them to a place where being used as the sharp end of a stick does not exist. Being shipped off to a foreign land and being separated from those you love and a life of freedom that most all take for granted, to me, is heart wrenching. It has become more than clear that the "dumb thing" I was attempting to do would be a nightmare to actually achieve. I appreciate you pointing out the hurdles that would have to be leaped in order for me to show the smallest sign of respect and gratitude to the men and women in our armed services. I will continue to channel my gratitude through other means and charities. I can only hope others will be inspired to do the same. Thank you for your service!
Melinda Clayton

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Registered: 06/11/13
Re: Troops stationed abroad?
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 6:44 AM   in response to: Marc Jost in response to: Marc Jost
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Marc, there's another service - an extremely well-organized one - that assists with sending paperbacks to our overseas troops, wounded warrior programs, veterans hospitals, and military families. I recently signed up for it under my very tiny publishing company. It's not a one-book-at-a-time service, though. When you sign up to send books, you send them in the genres requested, and you send a box of 10-20 at a time. If your book fits the genre, throw it in the box, but most of the books sent will more than likely be very gently used paperbacks from more well-known authors. More here for the curious: http://www.operationpaperback.org/
Marc Jost

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Registered: 06/21/17
Re: Troops stationed abroad?
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 10:55 AM   in response to: Melinda Clayton in response to: Melinda Clayton
 
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Thank you Melinda, your information will help me steer my focus in the right direction. It is discouraging to think one of the biggest and wealthiest companies in our country can't make such a simple act of gratitude a reality. I wish all would realize prospering from the American dream came with a price so many of our finest had to pay for them to do so.
booknookbiz

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Registered: 03/04/10
Re: Troops stationed abroad?
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 11:04 AM   in response to: Marc Jost in response to: Marc Jost
 
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Marc Jost wrote:
When I started this thread it was my intention to do something that might make a soldiers life a little less miserable. There is the smallest of possibilities that a book read in their spare time, might take them to a place where being used as the sharp end of a stick does not exist. Being shipped off to a foreign land and being separated from those you love and a life of freedom that most all take for granted, to me, is heart wrenching. It has become more than clear that the "dumb thing" I was attempting to do would be a nightmare to actually achieve. I appreciate you pointing out the hurdles that would have to be leaped in order for me to show the smallest sign of respect and gratitude to the men and women in our armed services. I will continue to channel my gratitude through other means and charities. I can only hope others will be inspired to do the same. Thank you for your service!

I didn't say that the idea of giving free entertainment to service people is dumb. I'm talking about the logistics, the way it was originally set up. Pople persist in thinking about eBooks as if they are paperbacks--so, collect books, send them willy-nilly--and that's the problem.

IF someone were to set up a free lending service, where the service people signed up, and then downloaded the available titles to their devices, a la the library--as NJ mentioned--that would work. There's nothing that would prevent it. Assuming, of course, you have proof that they are who they say they are...right?

The difficult part is the logistics up front, if you are trying to send files to the service people without their active participation. It's best, logistically, if you can create the database of books, and then have the service people log in, and dl the files as desired. You'd also need--and this IS a problem--a database of service members and their families so that only the service members could log in and get the files. I see that as the most insurmountable, as it's highly unlikely that the services would turn over databases without a lot of scrutinies, etc.

Perhaps the better way to go about this is to contact some of the existing organizations that service the services? If you approached the USO or any of the others, they probably have a more-efficient way that you could do this.

My post was simply about the logistics of trying to "collect eBooks" in advance of the distribution, and how that in turn works. It doesn't, as I said. But that doesn't mean it can't be done. It just means, folks have to think about how eBooks and eBook distribution actually works. Think of it this way--if you're an author, and you say, "I want to give away 100 copies of my novel, Smashing Pumpkins, to service people," you're not actually saying that you want to buy and give away 100 copies. You're not saying that 100 service members can email you personally and you'll send it, either. Right?

What you're saying is, either "I want to give one copy of my file to party X, and have them manage and oversee getting the file to the service people," or, "I want Amazon/Smashwords/B&N/etc. to manage and handle giving 100 copies of my book to service people." I'm not criticizing--I'm analyzing the reality.

In both circumstances, what you're giving away is potential income. The reality is, it's not costing you anything, in real money or time or effort. All the real work and real expense (from manpower to bandwidth, etc.) is on the other party--Amazon, Smashwords, etc., or the organization that is doing this. Unless there's a massive movement of authors, all emailing Amazon and begging them to set up, organize and do this--and, I suspect, offering to at least defray some of the costs--you either need an organization that raises the money, to BUY the books, and send those or at the very least, to hire people to work on the databases, coordinate with the service, get the books distributed, etc.

I doubt it would be a very cheap undertaking. It's like any other charitable undertaking; it's one thing for the folks donating clothes, furniture, etc., but the heavy lifting is done at the charity end, where they provide the trucks, manpower, sorting, cleaning, distribution, etc.

That's why I think it would be better if you guys would contact the USO or other service-support organizations. They already have access to the military databases, they have existing facilities, people, and so on. I just think that you guys need to really think about the logistics. Otherwise, all the effort will go for naught--and THAT is a result that I don't want to see.

Offered FWIW. Go ahead and ignore it, if you wish; I really am just trying to save you a lot of effort with no result, or poor results.

Hitch
We produce eBooks
An Amazon Professional Conversion Service : http://amzn.to/29pWZSg
www.Booknook.Biz
beachgardener

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Registered: 06/13/11
Re: Troops stationed abroad?
Posted: Jul 16, 2017 11:50 AM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
 
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Your suggestions are headed in the right direction - however - there is no need of a data base. For instance, A service man or woman has to show a military ID to enter a USO. All that is needed is an account for that USO to offer downloads from a designated computer to the service persons reading device. And now we come to the rub, it requires the service person to have a device to put the book on. So I would think the great donate and give away is found in providing hundreds of readers for those who do not have one. Mind you I do a lot of reading on my phone but for those without a gift of a Kindle would be a wonderful thing. Any data base might involve those authors who are willing to see their works downloaded free from the designated site.
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