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From the Digital Book World site (blockquotes omitted):

This Wednesday, F+W Media will join the efforts of the international publishing community providing assistance to Japan in the wake of the tsunami. Pledging a donation through the American Red Cross, the company will donate 50% of all profits received from the sale of products and services via the company’s 23 ecommerce stores. The campaign will run for a 24-hour period, beginning at 12:01am (EST) on March 30th.

“Just one month ago none of us could have envisioned the tragedy and devastation now impacting the people of Japan,” said David Nussbaum, Chairman & CEO. “As in communities, schools, and companies around the world, our employees at F+W Media, wanted to do something—anything—to help. This is our way of showing support and we hope our consumers lend their support, too.”

The full scope of the devastation continues to be uncovered, but reports on the impact of the tsunami on Japanese publishers and booksellers have already emerged, including an open letter of thanks from the President of the Japanese Book Publishers Association Masahiro Oga.

As publishers go digital in their everyday business, they have also expanded their ability to provide resources in times of crisis. For example, Pimsleur Language is providing 8 hours (16 lessons) of its Japanese learning course to relief workers. Last year, Pimsleur had made its Haitian Creole language training available in response to the earthquake in Haiti, joining widespread assistance efforts from publishers. Medical publisher Elsevier has opened up its primary online resources to all internet users originating in Japan, as a way of sharing critical and focused medical information where it is needed most.

In the wake of the disaster, other publishers have joined the call to action. As recently reported in Folio, the Adobe Foundation has donated $75,000 to the Red Cross and is also matching employee donations 2 to 1, while Google has given $250,000 in aid. Other charity efforts include:

  • Technical publisher O’Reilly held a half-off sale and is donating proceeds amounting to $200,000 to the Red Cross.
  • German travel publisher Dryas had been collecting 50 cents from every sale of one of its Japan titles and contributing to the Japanese chapter of Doctors Without Borders.
  • Blogger “Our Man in Abiko,” crowdsourced the creation of 2:46, a 30,000-word collection of stories and other works, using the #quakebook hashtag on Twitter. 2:46 will be available for sale first as an ebook and eventually in print. All proceeds will go to the Japanese Red Cross.

The initiative of the international publishing community, and its ability to give real support to disaster recovery efforts, is not new: last year, in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, publishers from all around the industry landscape donated both funds and resources to aid workers.

It is heartening to see the longstanding tradition of charitable giving from the publishing industry continue in force to help Japan’s recovery efforts.


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