Updated, Sept. 4
Imagine being able to look up rank or merit badge requirements on your phone or tablet wherever you are.
Or giving your Scouts access to merit badge pamphlets on devices from which they’re already inseparable.
That’s the promise of the Boy Scouts of America’s Amazon Kindle library, which debuted in April and has been adding titles at a fervid pace ever since.
I’ve got the full list of available titles below.
You can download, search and read selected merit badge pamphlets, leader materials and the BSA Fieldbook on Kindle devices or via the Kindle app on phones and tablets.
What are Kindle books?
Pretty much every phone and tablet, including iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Windows Phones and — duh — Kindles have a Kindle reader that lets you access your Kindle books.
In other words, you can read them even if you don’t own an actual Kindle.
The best part: If you buy a book once, you can view it on any of your devices. The apps will remember your bookmarks, highlights and where you stopped reading.
Say you bought the Fieldbook on your Kindle Fire but didn’t bring that device on your troop campout. The app lets you read it on your iPhone without buying the book again.
Why Kindle books?
National Supply Group Director Sam Bernstein says the BSA’s Amazon Library is just the start of the organization’s digital push.
“Digital media has changed the way kids learn, connect, socialize and play, and the BSA’s Kindle downloads are only the beginning of our digital initiative,” he says. “We’re committed to delivering the program in the format our members want and expect. E-pubs of merit badge pamphlets, leader materials and the Fieldbook give Scouts easy access to BSA resources wherever they are — training courses, committee meetings, boards of review, camping trips — the information will be right at your fingertips.”
The digital nature of electronic publications has another benefit, too.
“E-pubs also enable us to update material more frequently,” Bernstein says, “giving Scouts the most current and relevant resources when they need it.”
What’s available now?
All of the Eagle-required merit badges, with the exception of Citizenship in the World and Sustainability, are available now. Also available are two tech-heavy merit badges: Robotics and Digital Technology. How appropriate.
Leaders will be pleased with a selection of materials for them. No more lugging around heavy books. Just download and go.
More is coming soon. The BSA is continually adding new titles to its Amazon library and is expanding into other digital formats. If you love technology like I do, it’s an exciting time to be a Scouter.
Here are the books available right now on Amazon. The links take you to the title’s page on the Amazon store.
Merit Badge Pamphlets (each $4.99)
- Citizenship in the Community
- Citizenship in the Nation
- Digital Technology
- Emergency Preparedness
- Environmental Science
- Family Life
- First Aid
- Personal Management
- Personal Fitness
- Cub Scouts Leader Book ($8.99)
- Guide to Safe Scouting ($5.99)
- 2014 Boy Scout Requirements ($5.99)
- Troop Committee Guidebook ($6.99)
- Administration of Commissioner Service ($9.99)
- Cub Scouts Leader How To Book ($8.99)
- The Scoutmaster Handbook ($9.99)
Other must-have Scouting materials
About digital updates (NEW)
Several of you asked about digital updates, and I asked the BSA’s Supply Group. Their response:
We hear you, that’s why we’re being selective in the titles that we do offer digitally so there are no impending updates. At this time, revisions would require the purchase of the updated data. We’re looking at ways to offer updated versions for free or at a reduced cost, and will keep working toward that goal for the future.
H/T Thanks to Laurie Buckelew, Creative Director in the Supply Group’s Marketing Team, for the tip.