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Why I Believe in “Gifting” Books to the World

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I don’t know who coined the term gifting, but I can tell you that gifting books is transforming the world.

Eight years ago, I published my first children’s book because I had realized that my career was not my soul’s purpose or passion, even though I liked it. The energy and excitement behind the sales of the book drove me to rethink my career path and keep writing books. With love, passion, and joy in my heart, I gave copies to children and parents all over the country. I saw them beam with energy when receiving this gift. Many people told me they had never met an author before, let alone been given an autographed book by one.

As time went on, I got so much joy from meeting parents and children and gifting them with books that I decided to start a nonprofit company to help other authors also give their books away to the world. One of my best friends, Susan Shapiro, saw this vision with me and became the founding donor for the organization. I am forever grateful to Susan for seeing who I was and believing in me by helping me put the foundation together.

Since the day I gifted my first children’s book, the I AM Foundation, a 501c3 educational nonprofit, has distributed over 275,000 books and products to the world. We continuously receive books from authors and publishers and music from talented artists. In fact, we receive a million dollars’ worth of product a year, on the average, and give the same amount away–all kinds of books from all kinds of authors, some for children, some with spiritual messages, some about business, world peace, self-help and inspiration, sports, psychology, loss, healing, celebrity, values, and more.

The idea of book gifting is not new. James Redfield, who wrote The Celestine Prophecy, drove around the country giving books to people he talked with, to booksellers, and to others. In time, he got a book deal with Time Warner, whose salespeople had watched in awe as his books flew off the shelves. When an author is a true giver, that author is a marketer. What better way to spread the news of your book than through someone who has read it and is so excited about it they tell everyone they know?

My gift to you today is this idea: take 10 percent of your print run and donate these copies to people and organizations that will benefit from your book. If you need help, The I AM Foundation exists to serve you in this area. PuddleDancer Press, the publisher of Nonviolent Communication, saw their title’s rank at Amazon.com climb from a low of 3,000 to a peak 150 in 2004 by gifting through I AM and other channels.

Whether you want to give in partnership with us or otherwise, there is magic in book-gifting campaigns. They have taught me that the world responds to sincere generosity and a heart with good intentions.

Steve Viglione is the author of three children’s books and products with over 100,000 copies in print, and the founder and CEO of The I AM Foundation. To learn more, visit www.iamfoundation.org, email steve@iamfoundation.org, or call him at 619/296-2400.

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