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Time Needed: Less Than 2 Hours

Skills Needed: No special skills required

Causes: Veterans & Military Families

Project Categories: Family Friendly, Volunteering from Home


Soldiers serving the U.S. military often lack access to books, which they need for leisure reading, developmental goals, reading to their children via web cam, recovering from emotional trauma and enduring separation from loved ones.

Operation Paperback ( is a non-profit organization that helps volunteers collect and ship books to troops, both abroad and in the U.S. You can use the organization’s material to send books and show others how to do the same.

Great reasons to do this project...

  • Let U.S. troops know that people appreciate their service and sacrifice
  • Help U.S. troops stay mentally active with literature
  • Help U.S. troops stay connected to their children via web cam book reading
  • Ensure that our troops have reading material that may help get them through tough times
  • Clear books you’ve read from your home, and help others do the same
  • Connect with others in your community on a meaningful project

Volunteer shippers send over 90% of the books shipped under Operation Paperback.


Step 1: Register with Operation Paperback
Read and accept operation Paperback’s volunteer agreement ( There is no cost to you to volunteer. Your email address will be your user name; you will set your own password. You will receive a confirmation email from Operation Paperback asking you to confirm your registration. Operation Paperback will not share your email address with any other party or organization.

Step 2: Log In for Troop Addresses
Log in to Operation Paperback’s Volunteer Corner ( and follow the instructions to request addresses of troops overseas using the automated system.

If you prefer to ship to domestic locations, such as veteran's facilities or Red Cross units, email Operation Paperback ( instead of using the web site address request system. Also, if you have hardcover books you want to send, email Operation Paperback for those addresses.

Step 3: List the Book Genres You Have
Input the genres you have on hand (mysteries, westerns, etc.) and the system will generate a list of names of troops who are requesting those genres, along with their addresses.

PLEASE DO NOT COLLECT OR SEND ROMANCE NOVELS!  Operation Paperback reports that our troops do NOT read them, and they are very disheartened when they receive them.

You can send hardback books and even magazines; just let Operation Paperback know and they will alert you to troops who have requested those materials.

Step 4: Label and Ship Your Books
Operation Paperback provides a standard letter to include with your books. Feel free to add a personal note of your own.

Pack and address your box using the names they provide.

Then head to the Post Office to mail your box. Send shipments via Media Mail. On average, a box of 20 paperbacks costs about $5 to ship. Postal clerks occasionally tell shippers they cannot use the Media Mail rate for shipping to military addresses. This is incorrect! If you are told this, ask to speak to a supervisor.

The Media Mail rate applies to books, music, software and other media. You can include other items in your shipments but you will pay a higher rate to send those packages.

You can send a single shipment or several, based on your time and the number of books you can spare.

Step 5: Recruit Others to Use Operation Paperback to Help U.S. Troops
Now that you know how easy it is to ship books to troops, ask members of your community to contribute to your book drive – or start their own. Share your experience with them so they know how easy and secure it is to register with Operation Paperback and get more books in the hands of our troops.

Step 6: Inspire Others on

Visit Create the Good for a range of opportunities to use your life experience, skills and passions to benefit your community.