bookcrossing - noun. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise. (added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary in August 2004)
BookCrossing.com is a community site that gives something back. It's a book-lovers' community. People who love books and love to share them, let them go—into the wild—to be found by others.
The world as library.
BookCrossing is a book exchange of infinite proportion, the first of its kind.
So what do you do?
Read a good book.
Decide you want to share it with others.
Join up (free) at bookcrossings.com.
Register the book and add a little comment about it. You'll get a unique BCID (BookCrossing ID number) to put on the book. Most people print out the labels that the site offers and put them on their book. It says that this is a free book and explains how they can report that they picked up the book and journal it online.
Then you 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 you'll get notified by email each time someone goes to the site and records journal entries for that book.
Fate, karma, serendipity takes over. A person who loves to read discovers your book and makes a journal entry. Sometimes, people take them and never make journal entries - that sucks - but at least your book found a reader. I suspect there are plenty of books (and noy just poetry) that Poets Online users have at home that they could send into the wild.
There are almost a half million Bookcrossing users now, with about 300 added per day.
Here's a sample from my own bookshelf account-
I registered a copy of Virgin Suicides and released it 9/29/2004 at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival in Somerville, New Jersey USA.
Then I put my own journal note about it.
Someone found it and was good enough to go online and add an entry:
"The book lay on the folding chair for quite some time, unclaimed. People glanced at it, but skirted it, as if they were respecting that it might be someone's property. The poetry reading began, the chairs filled, and I wanted a place to sit down. I hesitated, because I thought it might be "saving" the seat. But then I sat down, holding the book on my lap, in case the owner came to claim it. No one did. I enjoyed the poetry reading a great deal. Then opened the book, as I was about to leave, because of the note taped to the cover. I saw that, strangely enough, the book was meant to be taken, and so I carried along with me."
I guess anonymous didn't get to read it for a while...
"October 02, 2005 - I'm sorry I waited a whole year to read this book. This is one of the best "first books" I've read in a while. About the Lisbons, a troubled family of five sisters in a Detroit suburb. The first thing that struck me, aside from the wonderful writing, is the voice. This book is told in first-person plural (as "we"), in the collective voices of the boys who were watching the Lisbon sisters growing up. First time I've seen this since Faulkner's story, "A Rose for Emily," which is also told by a sort of Greek chorus of townspeople, witnessing death, sex and tragedy from the outside.
I am going to pass this on through PaperBackSwap.com. There's a waiting list for the book, so I'm sure it will be out traveling into the world again in just a few days."
Then it was found/caught in Mount Vernon, NY and was passed on again through that other service to New Hampshire to continue its adventure.
You can check out my own little "bookshelf" without going through any registration at http://www.bookcrossing.com/mybookshelf/prospero2u and you check out some other users who have more books out there in the world.