The Gift of Reading

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post about how my ebooks could now be found in the Kindle Unlimited program. I said I would give away a 6-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited to five of my readers, and all they had to do to qualify was leave a comment on that blog post.

Readers left dozens of comments. Actually, they left hundreds. Some shared stories about what their libraries meant to them growing up, others how they grew up poor but found adventures in whatever books they could find or save up for, and some on how they had to overcome dyslexia to become avid readers.

These comments have moved me to tears several times. I’ve been blown away by them. And so it’s with a heavy heart that I announce that I will not be giving away five 6-month subscriptions to Kindle Unlimited afterall.

I’m giving away twenty.

I tried to pick a mix of long posts and short posts, witty posts and sentimental posts, and I tried to pick based on what sounded like need and enthusiasm. The painful part here is that I couldn’t give everyone 6 months of unlimited reading. I am keeping the winners anonymous, but they are free to comment below if they feel like some congrats and some well-meaning envy.

Thank you all for sharing your stories about what reading has meant to you, what books have meant to you, what your libraries meant to you, and about the incredible parents who instilled a love of reading in their children. This giveaway was never meant to grow into something like this, but it has become one of the best things my blog has ever given back to me. Thank you for that. Happy reading.

51 responses to “The Gift of Reading”

  1. Wow, how unexpected! I’m one of the lucky people who received the free membership. Thank you so much, Hugh!

    Now I can read all the books that were too expensive for me and many of the short stories I wanted to read but for which I felt like 99c was a little steep (I know it’s the lowest possible price an author can set, but still). Beacon 23 and Molly Fyde, here I come!

    Again, I’m sending a million thank yous from the Czech Republic – you’ve made my day and I’m forever grateful! :)

    1. No worries. I’m just glad the gift was allowable to other countries. But if you run into issues with it, let me know. I’ve only ever played with my US account.

    2. BTW, KU is only available in the US but it’s easy to redeem the membership even if you’re from another country.

      Just set up a US address in your Kindle country settings (the address can be made up), then transfer your account to and you’ll be eligible. You can always switch it back later. I’ve switched between different Amazon regions numerous times now and never had any issues. It’s good for times when a book you want to buy isn’t available in your region (say, UK) but is available elsewhere (US, Germany, Canada…)

      1. Cool! Wish it just worked, but this is super helpful.

      2. Will check out if that works with a non US credit card. Thanks for the tip. And happy reading!

  2. WOW…that one guy’s comment is just proof that no matter what you do, a troll is going to spit on you. YOU, however, rock. It’s not just that you love books and love reading, it’s that you love authors, too. I sat on a roundtable with you at BookExpo several years ago, and I have to say, your devotion to the written word is infectious. Keep being you.

    1. Huggers gonna hug.

      1. Awesome quote…is it yours? Wanna make sure I can attribute it properly!

        1. Yeah. But no need to attribute. Just share away.

      2. Janie Johnson Avatar

        ‘Huggers gonna hug’ needs to go viral

  3. You have given many a generous gift! Books, stories, other lives. Many find comfort and excape within pages. I taught myself to read because of the stories i heard and did not want to wait for someone to read the words. My first pet was a book, not kidding as i took it for walks. My books gave me a world of peace and much needed excape.
    You are giving the gift of peace, excape and knowledge. Thank you.

  4. Thanks a million, Hugh! I am beyond thrilled! I won!!!!

    1. Janie Johnson Avatar


  5. I got an email about fifteen minutes ago saying that I now have a six-month membership to Kindle Unlimited, and I have to admit that I just scrolled through about a thousand posts on your Facebook timeline to make sure I remembered correctly your saying that you were doing a giveaway. I wish you weren’t an untold number of miles away from me right now, because I would be giving you a huge hug right now! Whether I’m one of five or one of twenty, I am absolutely thrilled and cannot thank you enough for such a wonderful gift. I’m thinking that there will be quite a few late nights here in the near future and I cannot wait to dive in! Thanks again, Hugh, from the tips of my toes! What? The bottom of my heart isn’t far enough down!

  6. Aw, Hugh. Also one of the lucky ducks here. If you had any idea how much appreciated and needed (yeah, needed) this is for me, you’d… well, you’d… I don’t know what you’d do!

    But I know what I’m going to do. First, I’m going to SQUEAL. Then, I’m going to thank you. THANK YOU!!! And then, I’m going to read, read, read.

    Seriously, thank you so very much for caring about your readers, for all the advice you offer those of us who are writing, and for being such a genuinely all-around decent human being. Okay. Gotta go. I’m going to SQUEAL again! :-)

  7. omg.

    I never win anything. Thank you.

  8. I’m tearing up in a public place and I feel like a dork, ha ha. This is such an amazing gift. Thanks aren’t enough, but thank you from me and my daughter, who will enjoy this as much as I do. Can’t wait to pay this forward in some small way.

  9. Your writing has been a joy to read but I have to say, seeing the kind of man you are has been an unexpected treat. From showing up in “uniform” to surprise a book club to sharing the Silo World with aspiring authors – you are a mighty big man in my book.
    If all this karma comes back to you all at once you might just implode from bliss.

  10. You’re a good person, Hugh Howey.

  11. Good on you! This speaks to the heart of why your star is on the rise. I love not only your stories, but also the way you interact with and treat your fans. Congrats to all the winners!

  12. I found the nicest surprise in my e-mail today. Thank you so much Hugh!

  13. Aw, sorry I missed it, but what a fabulous gift of reading! :D

  14. Hugh,

    If I’ve never said it before, I’ll say it here:

    You got some class, man.

  15. You’ve always been one to show appreciation for your fans, Hugh. You’re an inspiration to the rest of us.

  16. Theresa Solomon Avatar
    Theresa Solomon

    OMG! OMG! OMG!

    Now I can stop saying I never win anything. This makes me so happy. And the timing is perfect. I’m just finishing my Master’s in Education and am about to have all kinds of free time. (When I’m not teaching 7th graders to love literature.)

    I know you don’t want to hear it but THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  17. Sharon mcqueary Avatar
    Sharon mcqueary

    This is so cool, congrats to all the lucky winners

  18. kathy czarnecki Avatar
    kathy czarnecki

    Thank you for this gift. It is so much more comfortable for me to give than receive but I am more excited about this than I thought I would be. I love the physical book and always will. My Kindle, however, is about to get a huge work out. Thank you so much for this. Reading is a passion I share with my parents and something I have loved since I can remember.

  19. Omigosh, I never expected this! Thank-you so much. This has been a hard week (to do with an ancient, beloved pet) so this is doubly appreciated – your kindness has left me feeling quite blubby.

    1. I’m sorry, Sue. Hugs. :'(

  20. Thanks for being someone who likes to give. I didn’t win. Didn’t even know about the giveaway until now, but it was a dope thing to do.

  21. Thanks so much! Can’t tell you how much I hooted and hollered when I saw your email! People are already tired of me saying how cool you are, and how much you have done for the self-publishing community! It’s going to be twice as bad now! Can’t wait to tell my mom! She’s more traditional with her reading but this gift will seem like a treasure chest! Thanks again!

  22. Congratulations to you all, isn’t Hugh just the best! I was one of the first in my circle of reading friends to discover and read Wool, so I consider myself on oldie fan, which I am, and oldie that is but also a fan!
    Enjoy you winners!!

  23. Wonderful gift to your fans Hugh! I wasn´t in because i already use KU and can pay for it by myself, so hopefully most of the 20 really needed it and appreciate what you have done. I do! Thanks!

  24. Congratulations to all the winners :)

  25. Hugh, you are a scholar and a gentleman.

  26. Love seeing all these happy winners! Congrats to all of you and kudos to Hugh for never failing to give back. The world would be a drabber place without you in it. Seriously, man, you’re good people.

  27. Marshall Evans Avatar
    Marshall Evans

    Well I’m shocked! I never win anything! I just finished Beacon 23’s latest installment and once again I am left thinking about bigger things than the story. This is a huge deal for me and I am so happy to have gotten. My Kindle goes with me in my bag everywhere because why spend your life playing Candy Crush when you can be reading something that changes the way you perceive the world. I love getting lost in a world of fantasy because it is my escape. You’ve made it easier for me to do that at a more rapid pace and for that I and your wonderful worlds you’ve created I thank you!

  28. Congratulations to the winners—and to Hugh for continuing to serve as an example for model author behavior.

    Speaking of inspiration, here’s a tangentially related bit of it: a colleague’s daughter, who’s reading my book, was in our office. Our conversation moved from fantasy (my book’s genre) to sci-fi, and she asked me if I’d read Wool yet. I confessed that while I’ve read Sand and liked it a lot, I haven’t yet gotten to Wool..

    Her response was wordless: just a Nimoy-esque raising of the eyebrow that called into question my status of genre fan and reader overall. So that’s my new goal—to eventually write something that prompts and needs nothing more than an eyebrow raise when someone confesses to not having read it.

    1. You haven’t read WOOL ??????

      1. Speechless and raising an eyebrow, I hope?

        (And yeah, I know. I figure I’m either really courageous, stupid, insensitive, or all three, admitting that here on the man’s site. But the silver lining is that I’ve got that ahead of me, no?)

        1. Put like that, then yes, and now slightly jealous, having all that gorgeousness to come!

  29. Congratulations to all the winners! Hugh you are such a wonderful person to do something like this. We are all winners for just being associated with you and being able to read your books. Keep up the good work!

  30. You are a true advocate for the reader and the independent author. Not only do I gain pleasure from your writing, but I am continually blown away by your kindness and generosity to your fans. I can not shout your praises loud enough, and I’m constantly recommending you to my friends, family, and random strangers with whom I strike up a conversation. I’ve been a subscriber to kindle unlimited since the beginning and you were my tipping point. My thought process was if Hugh Howey is included, it’s got to be great. Neither you or kindle unlimited have let me down yet.

    My personal testament to your awesomeness: I loved receiving my signed copy of Dust in your Potluck book signing. Two hours after I purchased my potluck, I found out I was being laid off of a job I hated. By the time I received the book, I had a new job and a new career path that I love. I keep the book in my office as a reminder that even when it seems impossible, great things are just around the corner. Thank you for the hours of enjoyment and escape that you have given me, and thank you for continued advocacy of not just your fans but all readers.

  31. Hugh, you never cease to make me smile and you always make me feel that maybe, just maybe, there is a little bit of hope for our species.

  32. Very classy, Sir. A tip o’ the hat to you for your generosity.

  33. Hugh–
    Thanks for this post, and especially for all you do in the service of indie publishing. I hope you will pursue a topic you raised last month, in which you speculated on how to establish a viable process of selectivity–gatekeeping–for self-published books. I would love for such a mechanism to be established–but I’m already apprehensive. I keep seeing websites run by people just out of college, who have set themselves up as editors, coaches, marketing experts, etc. These are exactly the people I’m afraid would be first in line to serve as gatekeepers in the kind of system you envision. So: how could the editors themselves be–forgive me–gatekept?

  34. I was watching a movie on T.V. while my son’s father was takig part
    in with him after we heard a knock on the door.

  35. I actually found this because I was googling Kindle Unlimited giveaways to enter, but I came too late. ;) It’s good it went to a loyal blog reader, anyway.

    1. Felix R. Savage Avatar
      Felix R. Savage


      I only have one KU subscription to give away, but you’re very welcome to enter my giveaway, running through the 28th of July.

      Needless to say it was Hugh who gave me the idea! There is NO purchase requirement to enter–so why not give it a whirl?

  36. Hugh, you are truly a mensch and a half. Your writing inspires me and your humanity and love of your fans doubly so. Keep being you; never change. You are what I wanna be when I grow up (even though I’m older than you).
    Congrats to the lucky winners.

  37. Hugh,
    I just finished Dust and all I can say is WOW! Of course, a few minutes later, my mind started trickling back to those other silos and going……what happened to them??? You rock my friend! Your storytelling is superb and I am on to Sand as soon as I hit submit. Oh, one last comment, I hold you personally responsible for the hours and hours of lost sleep ;-).

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