Sep 18, 2017 | news

Announcing the Hurricane Relief Bookstore

I grew up on an island. I grew up on the water; I grew up with storms. Hurricane prep is just part of life on the islands; it’s what we do. Most of the time, you get lucky and you don’t have to think about it too much.

But sometimes the storm hits. And when that happens, we also know what to do: before the storm you secure what you can, during the storm you take shelter, and after the storm you recover, and you help each other. Once you and your loved ones are safe and secure, you get out in the streets, or on the water, and you find the work that needs doing, and the people who need help.

This past month has been a rough one for hurricanes—and by all accounts from serious people, the storms will continue getting worse. Houston, the Caribbean, and Florida have been hit hard by hurricanes Irma and Harvey, and María is on its way to cause more damage. My own home in Puerto Rico was spared the brunt of it so far (although here’s still damage, people have lost their homes—particularly in poor areas—and María looks like it’s going to hit dead-on later this week), but the rest of the Caribbean has been badly brutalized. My brother works on the water off the east coast of PR and in the Virgin Islands, and the photos and videos he’s been sending me as he ferries people and material into and out of the USVI and BVI have been absolutely heartbreaking.

So I’ve been thinking about how I can help, sitting here, miles and miles away. The relief and recovery efforts need money, so we’ve set up the Hurricane Relief Bookstore as a mechanism for all of us to funnel money over to the people who need it.1 Fireside will carry the cost of the store setup and maintenance (about twenty bucks a month). 100% of the profits from sales of ebooks on the store2 will go to three organizations, one for the Caribbean, one for Houston, and one for Florida. You can read more details about those organizations on the About page of the store itself.

I’ve remastered3 and put up the last two years’ worth of ebooks that our Patreon backers receive every month. Previously, the only way to get these was to be a backer. I’ve priced them relatively high, at five bucks each, since the point here is to send money to disaster relief, not to get a good deal on ebooks. Each ebook comes as a DRM-free EPUB and Mobi file, for you to read on your Kindle or any other reading device. If you want to donate more than just five dollars, you can collect them all. If you want to donate even more money, you can increase the quantity of each ebook during checkout.

But helping is about community, too. As much as the aftermath of hurricanes and other disasters are horrible, the one silver lining is the way that, more often than not, people come together to help those affected. So I’ve reached out to some of our friends in our community, and asked them to pitch in, too. I’ve reached out to big legacy publishers, small indie operations, and individual authors. I’m really happy to be able to say that Uncanny Magazine, Lightspeed Magazine, FIYAH Magazine, and Andrea Phillips instantly and efficiently responded to my call, so aside from our own ebooks, you can also buy the entire run of Uncanny Magazine and FIYAH Magazine, as well as select Lightspeed Magazine issues, and Andrea Phillips’ books on the Hurricane Relief Bookstore.

There will be more coming shortly—we’re moving fast, and I’ll get more books up as we receive them. If you’re a publisher or an author, and have DRM-free ebooks that you want to put up on this store, drop me a line, and we’ll get it done.

My plan is to keep this store up for a limited time only—about a month, or a month and a half. Once we take it down, I’ll tally up all sales, pay the relief organizations, distribute statements to everyone who donated ebooks, and provide a general accounting in a public update on this site.

  1. 1 — I can’t believe I scored ‘,’ y’all. 

  2. 2 — Profits means all the money we take in, minus merchant and credit card processing fees. 

  3. 3 — This means I’ve made brand-new ePub and Mobi files, working off of the source code from our website and our updated ebook templates. I’ve also included cover art that features our new cover dressing. 

© 2017 Pablo Defendini

About the author

Pablo Defendini

Pablo Defendini is a designer and developer for hire, with a focus on editorial design for digital media. He helped launch, before moving on to work for companies that sit in the overlap between publishing and technology, like Open Road Media and O’Reilly. Pablo was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, lives in New York City, and works with people all over the world.