In 2005 this lifelong Bookworm joined a world-wide, online community, and movement, still in its infancy, but growing in popularity by the day.
In Fall 2008 I ended 3 years as an active member, for a variety of reasons, mostly due to work, and time, and my activities as a blogger.
I remained a member, with the vague notion of returning to it at some point.
Last Spring, though, it looked like I wasn't, especially after I broke my ankle.
The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to return, and with a Library that had a 24/7 shelf outside it's doors, where you could find books for a dime, and toss your money in a wall slot, I had a cheap way to build up my stock of books to set free on the world to be read , most of them, for the first time in decades. :-D
In the last 2 months I've collected 69 books, only a handful as much as $1.75 in cost.
So what is Bookcrossing?
Let me update a post I last wrote in 2007, for 2011:
Bookcrossing is avery cool, very stimulating and edumicational community
As the site says: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single release."
In April 2001 Ron Hornbaker launched a website to share his love of a good book.
The idea is a simple one: Read a book, then instead of tossing it in the trash, giving it to the library, or to a friend, or relative, or to Goodwill, pass it on to a total stranger!
Do this by leaving it on a park bench, in the breakroom at work, on a bus, or train seat, in an office waiting room, a public restroom, or in any number of other public places where the little, or not so little, darling will be found.
Outfitted with a special bookplate, tracking number and a note explaining the concept so the next person will know what to do if so inclined, the book can be tracked as it randomly travels from city to city and even nation to nation, around the world.
Over 946,498 people have "released" over 8 million books "into the wild" as of this evening, and the term "bookcrossing" has its own category in the Google Directory, as well as being listed in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary.
This award winning community is one of the most respected and popular gathering places online.
When a book is "Caught" the finder follows notification instructions and can leave a journal entry and the person who released the book can get notified by e-mail about the books latest encounter.
One of the many fun aspects is that you can be a "Hunter".
There is a list of countries with books "in the wild." After registering and releasing a book, members have the option of making Release Notes, specifying where exactly (or approximately) they left a book.
There are actually people traipsing around looking for a particular book!
This is very similar to those folks leaving, finding and cataloging, hidden items in the wilderness, in the activity called Geocaching.
While membership is free there is a supply store for purchasing Official bookplates of various types and cost, if you don't want to make one of your own.
There are also Bookcrossing Conventions and Monthly Meetings in cities everywhere.
There is much more to this worldwide community of book lovers, and newspapers, and magazines, are always coming late to the phenomenon, and writing rapturous stories about it. :-D
Such as this one I found by the NY Times, in 2007.
BookCrossing has a goal:
"Simply, to make the whole world a library. BookCrossing is a book exchange of infinite proportion, the first and only of its kind.
You know the feeling you get after reading a book that speaks to you, that touches your life, a feeling that you want to share it with someone else? BookCrossing gives you a simple way to share books with the world, and follow their paths forever!"
The rules are simple:
1. Read a book, or not! I have a chosen mission in which I rescue very old books from thrift store, yard sales, or library sales, from time to time.
2. Register it, with an intro about what you thought of it if you read it. Even rate it.
I include a picture, links to any info I learn online about the author and publisher, and info about any thing written, or left in the book.
3. "Release" the little darling back into "circulation". (I take pictures of most of the places I leave a book for inclusion in journal entries.)
Release it for someone else to read ( leave it on a park bench, donate it to charity, "forget" it in a coffee shop, the possibilities are endless), and get notified by email each time someone comes to BC and records journal entries for that book. And if YOU make Release Notes on the book, others can Go "Hunting" for it and try to find it!
It's an intriguing experiment in fate, or whatever one cares to call what happens between people and their encounters with a book.
You don't even have to reveal your true identity to the public.
On the main page of the site people can see recent "releases" and recently "caught" titles,including the people who did each, then click on links to learn more, about that books journey and the people who have been releasing and finding the book. Even their history of finds and releases.
There is even a lively Community on the site with forums, e-mail Lists, Meet-ups and Official Crossing Zones.
This last is a fascinating concept:
Do you have a favorite cafe, coffee shop, bookshop, laundromat, classroom, or other location that would make a perfect place for people to release and find books on a permanent basis? If so, you can possibly start a Crossing Zone there and watch it grow.
Does this all intrigue you?
In my sidebar is a widget that alerts you to the most recent books I have registered on my "Bookshelf", and their status.
You can click, and visit the page for that particular book, or...
You can visit the main page for my Bookshelf, and explore all of the couple hundred book you will find there, see which ones are Travelling, and which ones, that others have set free, that I have found, and what their status is as well.
You can also learn, in my profile, about what I call The Resurrection Project, my unique way of being a Bookcrosser. :-D
When you visit thru this link (Also in the sidebar, under the widget), my visitor stats are added to, and, if you eventually decide to join then I get credited a new refferal. :-D