More on e-Readers for the Troops

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I mentioned yesterday a surprisingly low-cost project to get e-reader devices (nook, Kindle, Sony Reader, et al) in the hands of U.S. troops in combat zones. Reader Shane Huang adds some context:

>>I wanted to share my experience with an earlier generation of e-book reader during my deployment to Iraq. A few years back, my brother in law bought me a Sony Reader for my deployment, which allowed me to bring the rough equivalent of 30 lbs worth of books in something that could fit in my pocket. Also, through software I was able to download the complete contents of publications that choose to make their material freely available online - and that's how I fell in love with The Atlantic.

An e-book reader shared in a platoon would be a huge morale boost. This is actually something the FRGs (family readiness groups, or spouses who volunteer to support deployed units from home) could start doing as well. With one account, and some gift cards, and possibly a deal with donations from publishers and book sellers, units could easily pass around books without the problem of incompatible preferences or the bulk/weight of paper books.

One issue that came up for me, though, is the fragility of the screen. One wouldn't think that the e-ink screen would easily be broken from the feel and appearance of it, but it turns out there is a pane of glass underneath that needs to stay intact for the screen to work properly. Luckily for me, the screen broke in my luggage on my flight home to the U.S., so I was able to replace it within days.<<

The "E-books for Troops" project is here.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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