April 27, 2011

Beyond the Shelf - BookCrossing

I'm sure many of you have heard about BookCrossing before, but are you a Bookcrosser too? Admittedly I'm not, and I guess you could say the closest I've ever come to it is joining PostCrossing almost two years ago, but the only thing these two have in common is the "crossing" part. And while I neglected the latter, I'm now seriously considering the former.

So what is BookCrossing? Basically it is defined as the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise. Ron Hornbaker conceived the idea for what is now known as BookCrossing in March 2001 and consequently launched a website which has expanded and grown throughout the world over the years. Users of the site can "go hunting" - all they have to do is check the website to see a list of books that have recently been "released" and then go to the location it was left to "catch" it.

Apart from releasing books pretty much anywhere, they may also be left at "Official BookCrossing Zones" (OBCZs), which are located in certain coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and other public places. The purpose of these locations is to get current members in the area to leave books to share with the public. This also advertises BookCrossing and creates more members.

The phenomenon has also reached Austria, and I have to say that upon a recent check on how many books are out there in the wild, I was astonished at the high number of released books here. Currently there are 1.093 books out there (none of which were set free in my hometown, dang it), just waiting to be found by fellow BookCrossers (or maybe people who have no idea why they end up so very lucky to find a book on the train, at a coffee shop, or any other place). If you're living in the US, there are currently 9.625 books out there, and in the UK there are 4.206 books on the loose.

While I'm not part of the BookCrossing community (yet, but as I mentioned, I do consider it), I wonder have you made experiences with BookCrossing? Let me know, because I'm really curious about it!

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea and if I come across a bookcrossing ID in a book I do log it on there but in reality most books get 'lost'. I don't add bookcrossing IDs to books I send out but I do get lots from BookMooch and swapping and sometimes in charity shops. It's nice to see where they go and I get a bit guilty if one I receive is a keeper!