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Books for heroes

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Publishers Weekly has an inspiring story of how the owner of a small bookstore in Alpharetta, GA, has facilitated the donation of thousands of books to U.S. troops–including a recent donation of 200,000 books by author James Patterson. George Scott, co-owner of Peerless Books, started donating books to American troops almost ten years ago when a customer came into the bookstore where he was working and bought $96 worth of magazines to donate.

When Scott found out where the magazines were going, he began doing it himself, soliciting donations (writers like Michael Connelly, who sends a box of his books to Scott “every few months”) and putting all the money toward postage, even as his living room piled up with books. Scott temporarily stopped the project in 2007 because “it pretty much broke my wife and me,” but restarted Books for Heroes in 2009 as a nonprofit, asking friends for donations. His efforts, for now, have culminated in the donation of the Patterson books.

For the Patterson donation, Scott fortunately had lots of help:

Robert Lebus, CEO of Pennsylvania-based shipper Transource, took 33,000 books from Indiana to California, where partner Operation Gratitude will distribute them. Feed the Children joined the cause by taking on 100,000 of the books in its facilities in Elkhart, Ind.; Oklahoma City; Houston; and Nashville, to be delivered to military support groups. Laspada Enterprises, a trucking company, also volunteered its services. A local Kroger loaned a forklift to Books for Heroes, and Peerless Book Store’s shopping center has loaned storage space for some of the 62,000 books in Alpharetta. Nineteen volunteer JROTC members showed up at the Books for Heroes storage space to help unload the books as they arrived, before being distributed to Afghanistan, V.A. hospitals, and U.S. military bases. For the latter, 10 bases were selected to receive a few thousand books each, with Fort Benning in Georgia already receiving its shipment.

Read the rest of the story here, and, to make a donation to Scott’s Books for Heroes campaign, contact him at geobkseller[at]yahoo[dot]com.