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.
Yes, but you're assuming, now, that the service person is going to be doing the download F2F. Honestly, that thought never crossed my mind. After all, it's not like eBooks are downloaded live; we download them around the globe, remotely. I don't foresee the military ID idea working. Not broadly, anyway.
You can read Kindle books on your cell phone. Personally, I don't love it, but I'm older and my eyes aren't amazeballs anymore. The age of kids in the service, hell, they probably live on their cell phones and wouldn't even blink at the idea of reading on one. I'm with you--donating Kindles would be great--but on the other hand, guys, having served, it's one more thing to pack up, that doesn't (officially) go in your duffel. The phone might actually be a better, multi purpose device. Given that many service members have laptops now, too.
I would certainly hope the serviceman or woman is involved in the selection of the book and thus the download. We would serve no good purpose, handing books out random like cheese sandwiches.
As to old eyes and reading on phones, I suspect my eyes are at least as old and tired as yours, I just up the font and read on, When I travel I travel light, no extra devices. I keep my Kindle library stocked up with a wide variety and laugh a lot when a particularly long word fills the screen and has it's last letter or two hyphenated to the next line. I use the same phone to email myself notes for books, ones I want to read and ones I want to write.
As to the military project, I have an idea it is already up and running in some form in the USO, the BX or PX or NCO and Officers clubs across the globe. I would also bet there is a gatekeeper who vets the kind and quality of the books available for download. That though gets us tied up with a whole different thread so lets not go there.
The idea is a worthy one and it would be good to know what is or isn't being done. B
PS: I was a military brat and married a career serviceman. Dad was Army and flew in three wars. My husband was Air Force and never left the ground. A lot of things work a little differently in that world.
The issue with electronic devices is that there is not always connectivity--no cellular or no Wifi. Of course, if someone already has the book stored in a Kindle or phone, they can read it--if the battery is charged.
The problem faced by soldiers is that the device is one more thing that needs to be taken care of, something expensive, something that is worth being stolen, something that can be broken. A paperback is not. A paperback can be left behind, lost, or take abuse and still function.
Also, certain jobs restrict cellular and Wifi access, and the use of electronics, at certain times and places. Not so with a paperback. While we have the luxury of having unlimited access, soldiers don't always have that. The only limitations on reading a paperback is light, and when it gets dark, you're either on watch or trying to sleep.
The idea is a worthy one and it would be good to know what is or isn't being done. B
What's being done is what works. Paperback books, usually the 5x8 size, are read much more often than Kindles or books on phones. They come from the USO, or most often brought along by the soldier. Once they've read it, it gets traded around for another book, like a giant lending library. (The same goes for DVDs.) Cussler, Jack Reacher, anything with a come from behind, against all odds heroic character is most popular, but I've also seen Michenor, romances, and travel books.
When I served, it was long before cell phones, laptops, or e-readers existed. Once the electronic communication age started, I was the first kid on the block to get a cell phone. Naively, I took it on an NGO medical mission. It was years and several missions before I ever had cellular connection. Then I started doing contracts for the DoD, being a part of teams that taught local doctors and nurses in their hospitals how to tend to trauma and burn patients, to make them more self sufficient. These were DoD funded and military supported missions. The first was in 2007(?), and I took paperbacks. The second was in 2010 to something of a remote FOB in Sandostan, and took my phone with books loaded into it. Duh. Restricted use of electronics, so I sat and listened to the wind, twiddling my thumbs in my downtime or slept. The next was in the Sinai two years ago, about a dozen of us, all ex-military. Most brought paperbacks, but a few brought Kindles, which were great, until the batteries got low. Unfortunately, we lived within the hospital, and relied on their electrical, and no one brought a charger converter to charge Kindles. The last (and I mean the last ) was a rescue and recovery job in Syria in May. (Here's something that will make the forum stand up and cheer: Brad got shot by ISIS.) It was a team of six, and we each brought a paperback, and traded them once they were read. At the end, we left them behind for the next suckers lucky devils that took over for us. (That ended up being nobody, because the program was dropped, at least temporarily.)
My daughter is active duty Air Force, garrisoned in Texas. Since she works in intelligence, her electronic access is limited, and every message she sends or receives is "closely monitored". Even though she has a Kindle, she's given up trying to use it, and gets paperbacks to read.
The point is, I've tried both electronic and paperback, and paperback works. Whatever scheme is devised, it has to be cheap, easy, and unrestrictive.
Edited by: Brad the wronger on Jul 16, 2017 3:38 PM
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.
I remember, back in the day, whenever I got ready to go on maneuvers, I would throw a book or two in my duffle, to have something to read during downtime. And there was a lot of that in the field artillery. I always had a Stephen King or Dean Koontz stuck in there somewhere. This was back before smart phones or ereaders. Hell, cell phones hadn't even been invented yet, so it was paperbacks or nothing at all.
Here's the thing. There was always someplace to get books. Yes, they were usually used books, but I didn't care. Usually the chaplain or the battalion supply had a box or two of books from back home and anyone could take one or two. They just asked that you bring them back when you finished with them, so someone else could read them. It was basically an ad hoc library.
So, like someone already said, get in touch with someone like the Wounded Warriors project or maybe the USO and send them some paperbacks. Having been out of the service for so long, I have no idea what the regs are on personal electronic devices, but I can imagine there is a reg prohibiting the taking of smart phones and personal tablets into the field.
And having just done a quick, two second search on Google, on how to donate books to the USO, the first thing that comes up is Operation Paperback, who has moved over two millions books to places where servicemen and women can access them. They put books in places like USO centers, veteran's hospitals, airport transit lounges, chaplain's libraries and lots of other places.
You want to donate your books to those in the service, (and God bless you for that) this seems like the best way to go. Yes, it will cost you more than donating ebooks, but these paperbacks will be more useful to service members and will get where they are intended to go.
Oh, and think of this. Just think of the boost your ranking will get when you order twenty copies of your book.
Yep, I posted that link somewhere up above in this thread. It's not quite as simple as just sending your own books, though - you access addresses, and then do your best to fulfill their requests. What they mostly want are gently used paperbacks. If an author's book fits the requested genre they can certainly include it, though.