BookCrossing, in a nutshell, is the art of sharing books. Similar to Where’s George in concept, this website provides you with a unique BookCrossing ID number for your book, which is then used to track the book on its journeys. How it travels is a matter of serendipity: passed between friends, sold on eBay, whatever. The fun part is when people find your books and leave a journal entry on the site, letting you know where the book is and, if read, what they thought of it.

Releasing, as this kind of sharing is called, takes on a variety of forms. People start bookrings, wherein a book is passed from person to person through the mail. Some trade via the post or at local gatherings. Others maintain Official BookCrossing Zones, more or less a lending library with BookCrossing labels, all over the world. (Hunting for books is also a joy; I doubt I ever would have discovered the delight that is Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, had there not been an Official BookCrossing Zone there.) A friend of mine totes a wagon full of books to various events, which she calls her Mobile BookCrossing Zone.

My favorite form, however, is the traditional wild release, where you leave a book in a public place for someone else to find. It’s fun to think up unusual locations, or places that somehow relate to the title of the book being released. Whenever I drive to visit my family, who live over 700 miles away, I release books along the way. Most books are caught, but very few people leave journal entries, even anonymously. There are loads of reasons for this, of course: no internet access, want to read it first, simply forget about it, etc. However, when someone does journal a book you released, it can be the highlight of your (and their) day. For example: my favorite journal entry, from a recent Road Trip Release at a gas station.

I would like to note that despite all this giving away, my to-be-read pile has done nothing but grow since I joined BookCrossing. BookCrossers are generous to a fault. It’s also vastly expanded my reading interests.

To see all the BC books that have passed through my hands over the years (as well as a running tally of books read this year), visit my bookshelf.

Reposted from my CCS blog.

  1. Loved your post on BookCrossing. We are really cranking out some cool features the members have been requesting for a while so I hope you continue to enjoy it!
    my best,
    CEO BookCrossing

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