Tuesday February 3, 2004

Catch and Release - for Books

The goal of BookCrossing.com is to "make the whole world a library", says founder Ron Hornbaker (a partner in Humankind Systems, a software and internet development company). "When people read something they like, their first impulse is to share it".

Sharing books (anonymously and freely) is the whole point of BookCrossing.

What is BookCrossing, you ask? It's a global book club that crosses time and space. It's a reading group that knows no geographical boundaries. Do you like free books? How about free book clubs?. Well, the books our members leave in the wild are free ... but it's the act of freeing books that points to the heart of BookCrossing.

But BookCrossing isn't just about leaving a book on a park bench for someone else to pick up and read (although it is about that, too!). At BookCrossing.com you'll also find book reviews, recommendations, and reader ratings. Each time a book changes hands, BookCrossing members can leave journal entries telling the world of their experiences.

BookCrossing.com gives you "a simple way to share books with the world, and follow their paths forevermore!" So, how does it work?

The "3 Rs" of BookCrossing...

  1. Read a good book (you already know how to do that)

  2. Register it [at BookCrossing.com] (along with your journal comments), get a unique BCID (BookCrossing ID number), and label the book

  3. Release it for someone else to read (give it to a friend, leave it on a park bench, donate it to charity, "forget" it in a coffee shop, etc.), and get notified by email each time someone comes here 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!

    Sounds easy, right? Well it is. It's also a fascinating exercise in fate, karma, or whatever you want to call the chain of events that can occur between two or more lives and one piece of literature. Oh, and we should mention, it's absolutely free and absolutely private, too.

I first heard about BookCrossing from a short article in the August 2003 issue of Readers Digest. At the time the article was written, there were 393,551 books registered at BookCrossing.com; today there are 803,637. There are also 208,632 registered members. That's a lot of people and a lot of books for an ad hoc "world library".

BookCrossing calls itself "a fascinating exercise in fate, karma, or whatever you want to call the chain of events that can occur between two or more lives and one piece of literature." Check it out.

Catch and Release - for Books ( in category Books, Movies, Music ) - posted at Tue, 03 Feb, 23:30 Pacific | «e»