Sunday

WORLDREADER.ORG

I have long held that the cure for most of the world's ills lies in literacy and access to information. If we teach the disenfranchised to read and then provide them with the opportunity to access books and ideas, they will throw off the yoke of oppression, poverty, hunger, addiction and violence. We have seen the results of some of this in recent months in many places around the world. I suspect that we will see much more in years to come thanks to a project that I am privileged to be participating in.

THE STORY

As many of you might know, I am a big fan of Seth Godin and especially his commitment to making ideas available on a large scale basis and his willingness to share his own. He recently offered some thoughts on an organization called Worldreaders.org that you can read here. The ideas and efforts of this organization make so much sense in my mind that I just had to contact them and offer my own humble writing attempts for their program. I have just signed the agreement and sent it off to them. I don't know how many kids in Africa, Asia and South America will be interested in my books but that is not the point. The point is to give them the opportunity to read about the world and its possibilities. This project truly is about "teaching them to fish" rather than giving them a loaf of bread.

THE IDEA

In a nutshell, Worldreader is providing Kindles to students in developing countries, where paper based books are almost non-existent, and they are asking authors and publishers to make their books - the ones that are already part of the Kindle program - available at no charge. They will pre-load any books onto the devices before giving them to the students. They have made an agreement with Amazon and it really is possible for anyone who has written a book to make a difference in the world, in a very real sense. Simple, easy and brilliant - ideas, information and access, all in one package.

IF YOU ARE A READER

As a reader, there are three ways that I can suggest for you to participate:
  1. send an email to your favorite authors asking them to make their books available to this program - you can send the link to this blog if that makes it easier.
  2. send a message of support to info@worldreader.org and tell them how important their work is in transforming the world - I'm sure they would accept any donations, too!
  3. forward this blog post to your friends on Twitter and Facebook and encourage them to do the same - let's make this a movement for change.
IF YOU ARE AN AUTHOR

Assuming your book is already listed on Kindle, it is a very simple process to contact Elizabeth Wood, Director of Digital Publishing for Worldreader and request their information package. There is a simple one page contract wherein you can direct Amazon to make your book available to this program. Yes, you will give up any income from potential sales to this group of potential readers. Kids learning to read in third world countries may not be that big a potential market for you, so, perhaps you will be willing to give up the royalties from sales in Ghana - think about it.
If your publisher holds the worldwide digital rights to your books, please consider talking to them about this program. Some are participating but others are requiring that the charity pay for the e-books. As you know, there is NO cost involved in making e-books available.
Send this post to your editors, designers, author-friends, distributors, and anyone else connected to making books available so that they can learn about this possibility for creating real change in the world.


AND FINALLY

A big thanks, once again, to Seth Godin for bringing this to our attention and big, big props to Worldreader.org for creating a project in which readers and authors can combine our talents, expertise, and need to make a difference into a program that will create so much good for so many people. Education will change the world and you can be a part of it.

Once again, please pass this message on to your social networks like Twitter and Facebook and let's get more people involved in this life-changing, world-building project.