Monday, September 11, 2006

Books for Troops

Whether or not you support the war in Iraq, you should support the men and women of our armed forces stationed there.

My friend Doug Hansen, whom I've known since 7th grade, is now in Iraq. In a recent email he mentioned that he bought a bunch of my books to pass around---apparently his unit is starved for entertainment.

I told him that I'd send him more books for the troops for him to distribute. Then I got to thinking---how cool would it be if his unit became the best read bunch of soldiers in the entire US military?

We all have extra books lying around, taking up space. Many of us are writers, and we have extra copies of our novels. I'm asking you to send a few to:

SFC Douglas Hansen
C Co / 163 MI Bn
COB Speicher
APO AE 09393

Postage won't cost much (it's considered domestic rate), and you'll be helping boost morale in a big way. Feel free to include a note or a letter telling them to get home safely.

Please pass this address around. I think it would be incredibly cool if Doug got so many books he began a US library in Baghdad.

Whoever sends the most books to Iraq (be honest) gets signed first editions of my first three novels, in hardcover. Post the number you've sent on, or email me at You have until the end of the month to get your books mailed.

Thanks for your help.


Anonymous said...

This is very cool of you. A wonderful idea and you're to be commended for your efforts.

Anonymous said...

Thank You for your support of our troops. My husband is also serving in Iraq. Books are a great thing for them to have to help pass some time. Thank You again.

Anonymous said...

Joe, one of your best posts. I take books I've bought and read to the US Army base library, near where I live, and they ship them down range.

Trish Ryan said...

What a great idea - a tangible way to thank our troops.

David Terrenoire said...

So far, I have sent twelve boxes of books to Iraq, no idea how many that is, but we moved and I had to do something to downsize. That's what I did. A win-win they say in corporate world.

I'm not trying to cadge those copies, Joe, just wanted you and your readers to know how important this is.

When I was a GI, the books friends and family sent to me kept me relatively sane. I can't stress enough how big a deal this is. Outside of family mail, getting books was the best thing in a soldier's day.

I have two more boxes to send off and this time I'll use this address.

Thanks for posting this.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

I've only got galleys of my own book, so will gladly send along a couple, but I have a ton of paperbacks around here that I could send off.

Great idea, Joe.

LA Burton said...

Joe- I'm going to send 5. I have a link on my blog. For Shoebox Operation.

Anonymous said...

Nice idea. I read on BoingBoing today that some units are downloading Create Commons-licensed books and passing them around with interesting results.

Anonymous said...

My husband has been over there twice, and not only am I, but my little company strongly supports our troops. I will be packing up a huge shipment this week to send over, one of our authors has generously offered to donate some copies, and we at LBF have many titles we can send over. Thanks for your support, as the proud wife of a soldier, I appreciate this.

Anonymous said...

I've also used Operation Paperback to send books over ( once you register with them they'll send you addresses for service members who've requested books, with a list of genres of interest.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Joe.

Anonymous said...

Excellent idea. I have a T-O-N of novels, both hardcover and paperback that I've tried giving to my local library (they dont want 'used' books!?!?!).

Anyway I'll box 'em up and send them all to your bud.


Jude Hardin said...

Great idea, Joe.

I'll be sending a bunch.

Princess in Galoshes said...

I'm not an author (yet)... (if ever) but I have a lots of books that other, talented people wrote that I'd be happy to donate.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

Last year I had a burner buddy (Burning Man that is) who was in Iraq, I sent weekly boxes of books, tobacco, chocolate, etc. I figured anything I sent that he didn’t want, someone else in his unit would want. He's home now (all in one piece!) and I kind of miss that weekly ritual . . . how cool to have a new name and address (since we’re no longer just supposed to send stuff addressed to “any GI who wants stuff from home”).

WannabeMe said...

My parenting group here gathers and sends over boxes of goodies (candy, magazines, toiletries, etc), we never thought to send books - what a brilliant idea! We'll definitely start doing that!

Anonymous said...


hey, this is a piece of cake! great suggestion!

Anonymous said...

Great idea. We'll definitely pack up some books and send them off. Another one I'd like to pass along is a website at that our family has been supporting for the last two years. It was also started by a service member and has blossomed. There are posting from members of our armed forces with requests. Some of them are just looking for a letter, others are asking for specific necessities that they need. There are hundreds of postings.

We answered a request this summer that was pretty cool. An air squadron in Afghanistan had read the book "The Kite Runner," which is a story about a boy growing up in Afghanistan who and talks about the tradition of kite flying by youth. When the Taliban took over they outlawed kite flying. Great book if you haven't read it. This air squadron wanted to collect enough kites to pass out to all the kids in the village that they had adopted. None of them had ever seen a kite. My son Will and I presented the idea to his class and we collected almost 100 kites for the kids and also wrote notes and drew pictures for the crew in the squadron.

I really encourage you to visit the site. It really teaches the lesson of charity and philanthropy because sometimes units move around so much you can't expect to receive any response from them at all. There are requests that would be great for a company or organization to take on or small requests that a single person could respond to. Check it out.

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! Thanks for posting.

Karmela said...

I'm on it!


Julia said...

Count me in!

I'm only leaving a comment because my verification word is "loaddup".

Rusty Hinge said...

I had heard about places to do this, and have since collected a stack of readable goodies while my sister-in-law has built another giant pile. We just needed an address, but I hadn't surfed one up yet. Thanks for providing, and I hope they're ready for the deluge!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous idea! Just know that this address is getting passed around quite a bit, hope your buddy gets tons! Off to sort books now.

Anonymous said...

I only had a couple of books (running out) but I sent them. And it felt good!


Maya Reynolds said...

Fabulous idea, Joe.

Thanks for giving us something tangible to do to support our troops.

I'll send books and post the address on my blog.



Jeri said...

Thanks, Joe. I've seen other general calls for books for troops, but it's nice to have a specific name.

Books for Soldiers has guidelines for making sure the packages get through--things like weight, return addresses, other care package items needed, etc.

Like Maya, I'll send a box and blog it, too.

ec said...

May I post this info on my LifeJournal? My "friend" links include quite a few fantasy authors and avid readers. Recently there have been several posts about the website, so I suspect at least a few people would be interested in sending books to your friend in Iraq.

I'll send copies of the following books:

Shadows in the Darkness
Daughter of the Drow
Tangled Webs
The Magehound
The Floodgate
The Wizardwar
Silver Shadows
Dream Spheres

By the way, you can chalk up another sale to the promotional competition between you and M.J. Rose. Several years ago, I purchased a copy of Ms. Rose's book on online promotion, so I get her posts on my "plog." After reading about your road trip and her blog linking efforts, I found your website and blog, and read (and thoroughly enjoyed) your Jack Daniels books. If you're keeping tabs on the effectiveness of various promotion methods, this is going to be a tough one to call. :)

JA Konrath said...

Feel free to post the address, EC. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I sent boxes of books a while back using, which has a forum where you can learn about specific needs. That way, if you have paperback mysteries, you can zero in on the people who are looking for that genre. And of course there are always other items the soldiers need or want besides books.

s.w. vaughn said...

Oh... what a fantastic idea! Getting some books together now. I have shelves and shelves and shelves...

r2 said...

I just sent 10 hardbacks and a dozen paperbacks.

Karmela said...

I'm holdling a book drive at my work and I'm up to 173 books! Wohoo!! I'm going to win this contest yet!

Karmela Johnson

Anonymous said...

Joe, many thanks for this post on books for troops. It took the "someone needs books" trigger to tune me into the action of supporting the soldiers. I've been a believer in the idea "don't support the war but support the troops," but believing and doing are two different things.

Huge thanks to Anonymous who posted the comment about One look and I was hooked. Wow. An entirely different perspective on the experiences of these young people "in harm's way."

The phrase "support the troops" isn't a big inspiration to me. It's about supporting Americans who are working hard and doing all they can for themselves and others in the way they know to do it, yet who are cut off and often in desperate need of moral support. They also have surprising genuine physical needs as well.

As a Katrina survivor, I know what it means to have ordinary citizens jump into your dark place with you and keep your head up. It means everything.

Anonymous said...

As a father whos son is in

C Co / 163 MI Bn

Thanks to all of you.

A proud father