Yesterday I launched a project to provide free Kindles for U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan. I chose Kandahar because of the letter K, but also because it’s the general region where Army Sgt. Andre B. Corbin will serve when he deploys later this month. He will be toting a new 6-inch Global Wireless Kindle and accessories, all donated by M-Edge Accessories in a sponsorship for which I gained quick and enthusiastic support from Patrick Mish, CEO of M-Edge. You can listen to the interviews I did with Sgt. Corbin and Patrick Mish in Episode 84 of The Kindle Chronicles.
It was during those interviews that the idea of Kindles for Kandahar arrived, and I’ll be working with Andre and Patrick to develop the project. Andre this morning left the following message on my Reading Edge Facebook page:
“As the Kindles become available, I will provide to you a name and address of one of the Kandahar soldiers who will find great pleasure in receiving a Kindle. I will donate the money required to cover the postage.”
I appreciate that donation, Andre! I realized yesterday, when the first contribution arrived, that PayPal is charging a small transaction fee, so I will donate that money back to K4K, so that we can assure donors that every dollar contributed will go toward a Kindle for the troops. I haven’t had a chance to talk with Patrick Mish yet about M-Edge’s involvement in this next phase, but I’m hoping he will consider contributing a protective cover and an E-luminator 2 light for each of the Kindles we ship to Kandahar.
Andre has another idea we’ll pursue, which is to figure out a way to donate Amazon gift certificates for purchasing content on the K4K units. I loved his signoff on the Facebook entry today:
“Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.”
I hope you’ll consider becoming one of the first contributors to Kindles for Kandahar. To do so, simply click here or on the logo above or the PayPal button. If you have your own PayPal account, you will be able to use it for the contribution. If not, there will be credit card buttons available. I don’t have nonprofit status set up for this yet, so for the moment your contribution will not be tax-deductible.
This project is a terrific use case for eReader technology. I realized that when Andre described how small the bag is that he will carry for his personal effects when he deploys. Instead of taking one or two print books, he will be able to bring more than a thousand titles on his 10-ounce Kindle. His reading list for the year he will be stationed at a remote base in Tarin Kowt includes recreational fare, as well as elucidating tomes such as In Afghanistan: Two Hundred Years of British, Russian and American Occupation (Kindle, hardcover) by David Loyn and Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (Kindle, paperback) by Steve Coll.
Another book I’d recommend is Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? (Kindle, hardcover) by Seth Godin. It’s about making yourself indispensable by overcoming lizard-brain resistance to your true mission. I happened to have read it in preparation for an interview with Seth just before talking with Andre, and it helped me overcome reasons to procrastinate the launch of Kindles for Kandahar. Andre and his fellow soldiers are taking the art of being indispensable to the 11th power.