Tag Archives: bcindc

Sketchbook Peek: Gaithersburg Book Festival

Every year, BCinDC (my local BookCrossing group) gives away free books at the Gaithersburg Book Festival. After getting my 227 books all ready to go, I decided to draw the boxes and bags and bins. That purple bin has been my BookCrossing bin for years, and has served me very well.

By the way, we as a group brought 2100 books and came home with fewer than 10. That, my friends, is a good day.

Ten Years a BookCrosser

Today is my 10th BookCrossing Anniversary. In some ways it’s weird to realize it’s already been that long, but in others it feels almost as if BookCrossing has been part of my life for much longer. I have made many friends, read and released many books, and done a lot of things I probably never would have done otherwise – like, say, get stranded in Europe and take a road trip from Amsterdam to Switzerland and back stuffed in a VW Golf with an American, a Brit, and two Aussies. But that’s another story for another time.

It’s interesting how close I’ve gotten to my fellow BookCrossers, especially those in my local group, BCinDC. I count them among my very best friends. We’ve laughed and cried together, celebrated joys and attended funerals. We were brought together by this crazy hobby of leaving books for strangers to find, and somehow found a whole host of other things to tie us together.

Here are my statistics as of this writing:

  • I have registered 1954 books.
  • An additional 975 books, registered by others, have passed through my hands.
  • 164 of my wild catches have been caught and journaled.
  • I have met 220 BookCrossers in person (mostly thanks to conventions).

Here’s to many more book-filled years!

BookCrossing BackStory

I was recently asked how I discovered BookCrossing and got to the point of being so involved as to be on the planning team for an international convention.

Jeez, I dunno. I guess I’ll start from the beginning.

Once upon a time, I had a subscription to Yahoo! Internet Life magazine, a publication which highlighted assorted interesting websites. At the end of each issue was a pull-out list of all the URLs mentioned. As I read the stories I’d circle their entries on the list, and then bookmark the sites for later perusal. It could (and often did) take years before I got around to actually visiting the links, but from time to time I’d browse my “check it out” bookmark folder, remove the dead links, and re-file anything I wanted to keep. One of these links was for Photo Tag (or maybe Foto Tag), a project where one leaves a disposable camera out in public with instructions for the person who uses the last exposure to mail it back to the owner. The owner then develops the photographs and posts them online. (Astoundingly, some of the cameras were actually returned!) I can no longer find this site anywhere; I suspect it’s either defunct or I am misremembering its name.

Anyway, one of the links on that page for similar projects was BookCrossing. (WheresGeorge was another, IIRC.) I admit, my first thought when I discovered BC was, “Free books!” I did a little hunting, not realizing that most wild-released books are picked up within hours or even minutes. It took about two months to get my first wild catch, a truly exhilarating experience.

After a while I started attending the monthly BookCrossing meets at St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub, organized through Meetup. I met some lovely folks this way, but the group was fairly small since it was held on Thursday nights and nowhere near a Metro stop. Once Meetup started charging group organizers for events, the whole thing fell apart: who wants to pay to chat in a public space? Disappointed, I started a Yahoo! Group, but clearly wasn’t disappointed enough to actually plan any get-togethers. The group was very quiet for a long time.

Enter Cookie, recent transplant to the DC area. In July 2007 she held a meet in Waldorf, Maryland. Remembering how much I loved the gatherings at St. Elmo’s, I drove over an hour to attend. I’m glad I did. Almost single-handedly, Cookie re-energized the group, and slowly we gained momentum and members. Soon our group had free-book tables at local festivals like Kensington’s Day of the Book, the Carroll County Book Fair, and the Gaithersburg Book Festival. We held annual joint meetings with local Librarythingamabrarians each fall at the National Book Festival. We met monthly at various locations in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia, plus occasional additional meets with BookCrossers visiting the area.

Then Cookie got a crazy idea.

As one of the largest and most active BookCrossing groups in the country, she suggested we put in a bid to host the annual international convention. Bids are put in two years in advance, so in 2008 we bid to host the 2010 convention. We lost to Amsterdam, but when we bid the next year we won – which was better in a lot of ways, since it meant we got to celebrate the 10th anniversary of BookCrossing. It was during the 2008 bidding process that the name BCinDC was born and one of our members designed the lovely logo we used for the convention.

I have absolutely no idea how I ended up on the convention planning team. It started out as a totally informal thing, then somehow it turned into massive brainstorming sessions on Google Docs, quirky book-collecting sprees, a series of well-researched blog posts, and marathon meetings that lasted long into the night. I nearly had a mental breakdown, to be perfectly honest. As awesome as the convention was when it finally happened, those two years of planning involved a lot of stress and heartache. There were times when I wanted to quit the site entirely. I’m glad I didn’t, because the convention was so totally worth it.

BookCrossing is a lot of fun. It’s fun leaving books in random places for folks to find, it’s fun when the right book finds the right person, and it’s fun to discover new books I never would have come across otherwise. But in the end, it’s the people that keep me coming back. BookCrossers are the most generous people I’ve ever met. It’s not just books (though they are almost aggressively generous with those!), but everything. For example: each year an event called “Holiday Gift Giving” is held on the forums. Basically, you post your wish list, no matter how simple or outrageous, and people can choose whether or not to fulfill any of them. There is no obligation to give and no guarantee to receive, and yet people do both. Whenever I travel, I post on the forums and there is almost always someone who would like to meet up and welcome me. On Sunday morning of the convention, when we had to pack up the book buffets, attendees enthusiastically took on the job without even being asked. I could keep going, but I think you get the gist. We’re connected by a love of books – and not even the same books! – and this nutty hobby of giving away the very books we love. And yet somehow that is enough to form lifelong friendships. I certainly have.

My sister suggested once that BookCrossing is my “tribe.” I think she may be right.

BookCrossing Article in Street Sense

Recently I met with Kelsey Osterman, a reporter for Street Sense. This biweekly newspaper is written, published, and sold mainly by homeless and formerly homeless people. Ms. Osterman’s editor had found a BookCrossing book, and she contacted BCinDC about doing an interview. We met up with her a few weeks ago, and the article is the cover story for the latest issue. If you’re in the Washington area, purchase a copy for only $1 from one of their vendors. Otherwise, you can read the article here: Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost.

2011 BookCrossing Convention Bonus Features – now on sale!

Bring home part of the convention with this exclusive DVD! Included:

Professionally edited by Eleanore Stasheff and featuring music by Binary Souls / Other Dimensions, this is one DVD you don’t want to miss!

Price Guide:

  • In person/at the convention: $2 cash or check
  • PayPal (USA; shipping included): $5
  • PayPal (int’l; shipping included): $8

The small print: PayPal prices include shipping. DVDs are only available in Region 1 format.  All orders placed before the convention will be shipped on Tuesday, April 19, 2011.  You do NOT have to be a BookCrosser to purchase (or enjoy) this DVD.

DVD+shipping

 

 

Please note: We are NOT making any money on this. Purchasing this DVD will not affect the fund meter on the convention website. If by some miracle we manage to cover our production costs, any profit will be given to those who so generously donated their time and resources. We are offering this one-of-a-kind feature because we love it and want to share it. We hope you love it too.

What Color Should I Dye My Hair?

Now you get to decide. Donate to the 2011 BookCrossing Convention and pick a color, and when our fund meter gets to 80%, I’ll dye my hair whatever color is in the lead at that time. At 90%, I’ll add another color, and at 100%, you’ll see me with three. If you don’t want me to dye my hair, there’s an option for that too, so vote today!

(And for those of you who don’t really care what color my hair is, every donation also receives free BookCrossing wings for one month, courtesy of a most generous anonymous donor.)

Note: Yes, I’m still on hiatus, but this is timely.

Memorial Release for Becky

Last August, ResQgeek‘s daughter Becky (aka N-R-Jyzer) was struck and killed while riding her bicycle. We at BCinDC are organizing a memorial release on what would have been her 10th birthday: February 14, 2011. Always giving of love and hugs, Becky is remembered as embodying the true spirit of Valentine’s Day. The theme of our release in her honor is hugs, hearts, and Valentine’s day. Becky loved Winnie-the-Pooh, so we will be releasing those and other children’s books as well.

Date: February 14, 2011
Theme: Hugs, hearts, Valentine’s Day, Winnie-the-Pooh, children’s books
Release notes: Please include a link to the Becky’s Hugs facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Beckys-Hugs/147053868666518) in the JE for the release.

If you are in the area, BCinDC is holding a release walk in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, at 7:00pm that evening. We will meet at La Madeleine at 500 King St. (at the corner of King and Pitt), then walk down King Street and up N. Union St. to end at Becky’s tree in Founder’s Park. Please let us know if you will be joining us so we know to wait for you.

Memorial labels are available at the supply store.

We hope you will join us in remembering Becky.

Got $25? Advertise at the 2011 BookCrossing Convention!

BookCrossing.com, the international book sharing and tracking website, is holding its annual convention in Washington, D.C., in April 2011. Hundreds of book-lovers from all over the world will attend and we would like to give you the opportunity to reach these people by advertising at the convention. Pricing begins at just $25.

What is BookCrossing?
BookCrossing is a massive online community boasting more than 900,000 members all over the world, joined by their common love of reading. The idea behind BookCrossing is to share your books and follow their travels. Each book receives a unique ID number. Once the book is registered, users release it into the wild – give it to a friend, leave it on a park bench, or donate it to charity. BCinDC, a group of BookCrossing.com members in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, are hosting the 2011 BookCrossing Anniversary Convention. You can find out more at http://www.bcindc.zoiks.org.

What do I get out of advertising?

  • Exposure to hundreds of new customers.
  • Word of mouth advertising via the BookCrossing forums, which are visited by thousands of book lovers every day.
  • Free advertising at our website.
  • A listing in the convention program and on a poster at the venue
  • Additional benefits at each advertising level.

How do I get started?
Send an email to bcindc2011@gmail.com and we will send you the full information about advertising levels. Thanks!

Convention 2011 registration price increases on Jan 1!

The Early Bird Rate for the 2011 BookCrossing Convention registration expires as the clock ticks over into the new year! That’s just under two weeks away. We are on Eastern Standard Time here in D.C. and so that is when the change will become effective.

If you would like to qualify for the lower $150 rate you must do 2 things:

  1. You must submit your registration form BEFORE the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2010 EST. (That’s when the ball falls in Times Square.)
  2. You must submit payment within 3 business days. That means that your PayPal transaction must be submitted or your check postmarked by Wednesday, January 5, 2011. If you cannot make this deadline then please send the regular convention fee amount of $175.

There are some special deals available now on the website: http://tinyurl.com/bcindcdeals. In order to qualify you must submit your PayPal payment or postmark your check within 3 business days of submitting your registration form. Don’t get disqualified from some great deals by procrastinating on sending in the payment.

(Please note: if you submitted your forms prior to December 1 and you have already paid, you will be grandfathered in and are qualified for promotions regardless of the length of time it took you to pay).

What are you waiting for? We want to see YOU at the convention in April, so register today! http://tinyurl.com/bcindcregistration

Extra Festive Saturday

If you’re in the Washington, DC, metro area this coming Saturday, there are plenty of things to do. Fall for the Book in Fairfax is winding down and the Maryland Renaissance Festival is in full swing. The Baltimore Book Festival is this weekend, conflicting as it does every year with the National Book Festival in DC. My local BookCrossing group will be cavorting around the National Mall, handing out books. Heck, even my home town is having its annual festival on Saturday.

But I’m not going to any of it. My husband and I will be at the Small Press Expo, geeking out on indie comics. And I can’t wait.

We might also stop by Horrorfind Weekend on Sunday, but that’s still up in the air. Either way it’ll be fun times.

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