Quakebook: A Creative, Twitter-Sourced Effort to Help Japan

If you’re searching for an example of “social good” in the twenty-first century, look no further than Quakebook.

It all started with a tweet. @OurManinAbiko, a Briton living in Tokyo, put out a call for contributors to help produce a book that would raise funds for Japan Red Cross. In a short time, the project attracted submissions from “individuals around the world, including people who endured the disaster and journalists who covered it.” The idea is to tell the collective story of the earthquake,while helping to restore Japan.

“The primary goal,” says the book’s editor…“is to record the moment, and in doing so raise money for the Japanese Red Cross Society to help the thousands of homeless, hungry and cold survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. The biggest frustration for many of us was being unable to help these victims. I don’t have any medical skills, and I’m not a helicopter pilot, but I can edit.

A few tweets pulled together nearly everything – all the participants, all the expertise – and in just over a week we had created a book including stories from an 80-year-old grandfather in Sendai, a couple in Canada waiting to hear if their relatives were okay, and a Japanese family who left their home, telling their young son they might never be able to return.”

After creating a successful e-book, the Quakebook project is moving into the print realm.

The world listened when we said we have created a compelling book in one week. Then, the world waited and bought the ebook – making it the No. 4 top selling non-fiction book on Amazon that week – just through word of mouth. And now we must grab the world’s attention for a third time – to buy the paperback book.

Is there a catch? There is a reverse catch, if you will. Amazon has agreed to print the book on demand — for free. That means when you buy the book, 100 percent of your payment goes to Japan Red Cross, whether you get the the e-book (available now) or the paperback (coming soon).

Twenty years ago, a project like this would have been inconceivable. A top-selling book in a week? Pfft, good luck. Quakebook continues the trend of creatives bringing their work to life outside of the traditional publishing systems, and it does so in a worthwhile way. It’s encouraging to see that, even in this apathetic age, when someone makes an honest, inventive effort to do good, the world takes notice.

You can get the digital version of 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake on Amazon today, for great karma and an inspiring read. It says “Kindle edition,” but you can get it for Mac, PC, or iPad. Or wait for the printed copy. So no excuses.

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