More on e-Readers for the Troops

By James Fallows

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/01/more-on-e-readers-for-the-troops/69166/