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Veteran and author helps military personnel overseas get free books
Malcolm Campbell is a Jefferson author who has joined hundreds of others who are participating in Operation E-Book Drop. Through the program, deployed soldiers are given free access to thousands of books. - photo by BRANDEE A. THOMAS
For more information about Operation E-Book Drop or to sign up for the program, e-mail

JEFFERSON — Malcolm Campbell, a Jefferson author, is so excited about having people read his books that he is giving them away.

Not to everyone — just to deployed military personnel.

Like more than 200 other authors, Campbell has joined Operation E-Book Drop, a program that provides free digital copies of books to soldiers serving worldwide.

"I imagine being out in the field all alone can make the nights seem longer (for deployed soldiers). I served in the Navy during Vietnam, but I was aboard an aircraft carrier with about 5,000 other people," Campbell said.

"This program is outside of any political agenda. No matter how you feel about the war, this is something that lets us support our troops and it just feels good to be a part of it."

Campbell is the author of two books, "The Sun Singer" and "Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire." He is working on several more.

The free book program was started by Ed Patterson, an e-book author, who met a deployed U.S. soldier on an online message board. The soldier told Patterson of his troubles downloading books for his Kindle, a wireless reading device.

Patterson offered to e-mail his e-books to the soldier for free. After doing so, Patterson contacted other writers to gauge their interest in also providing their literary works to soldiers. After receiving many affirmative replies, Operation E-Book Drop was born.

"The way it works is deployed personnel e-mail Patterson, and say they’d like to have their names added to the e-book drop list. Patterson then sends us an e-mail with the name and sometimes rank of the soldier," said Campbell. "The authors then e-mail the soldier and provide them with a coupon code that they can use to order our e-book for free."

The books can be read on multiple formats including laptops, iPhones, smart phones and Kindles.

"I’ve sent out probably 60 (coupons), but I don’t know how many people are actually reading my books — I don’t know if there is a way to track that. I don’t know if this will help boost my overall book sales, but this isn’t about that," said Campbell.

"Those of us who were in the military remember how it was (to be deployed). Maybe if I had an unending supply of books I would’ve smoked fewer cigarettes back then or drank fewer cups of coffee. I hope getting our books makes their time away from home a little easier."