The gist is this: donate your gently used books directly to troops stationed overseas, with inexpensive shipping thanks to media rate postage and the fact that overseas APO/FPO addresses are charged the same rates as the US.
The 75 Books Challenge for 2010 group came up with a fantastic idea: they are challenging themselves to collectively donate 75 books through Operation Paperback before the end of 2010. Then they decided it would be more fun to open the challenge up to everyone at LibraryThing, to see if we can collect ten times their initial challenge–750 books.
Operation Paperback is a non-profit that organizes the collection of books to send to American troops* deployed overseas. Considering we’re a site devoted to the love of reading and books, I think it’s only fair we share! It’s a win-win, giving books to troops who otherwise don’t have access to leisure reading, and making space on your shelves for more books! Sign up on the Operation Paperback site to send some books (they’ll tell you how and where to send them), then list them here, so we can work towards the goal if 750 books. Check the LibraryThing Operation Paperback page to see what books we’ve sent.
You can read about which genres are most popular**, how the shipping works and what else you can do to brighten the day of folks who are far from home, on the Operation Paperback FAQ page. They say that a box of 20 paperbacks cost about $5 to ship to any military address.
Operation Paperback needs help spreading the word among troops that this program is available to them. If you’re stationed outside the US, or have a friend or family member who is, sign up to get books.
*If you’re aware of programs like this for the troops of other countries, please leave a comment, and we’ll add the information.
**I talked to the good folks at Operation Paperback, who said that since 95% of troops are male, so there’s no need to send chick-lit or romance novels. Apparently, they end up with plenty anyway. There’s more information about this on their FAQ.
Thanks to Jayel Aheram for the photo.