Thursday, February 23, 2012

Catch and Release

Do you guys know about BookCrossing? The program has been around since 2001, but one of the staff here at Mantor was recently introduced to it, and she reminded me of it, and I'm passing it on to you.
BookCrossing is a catch-and-release book exchange program. It's a way to release your already-read books into the wild, and then track them to see where they go.
Here's how it works: Go to the BookCrossing website and sign up. (It's free, and you don't have to give out personal information if you don't want to.) Then, register a book you want to set free. BookCrossing will generate a BookCrossing Identification Number, or BCIN.  You'll need to label the book with this number, and there are a few ways to do that. You can download free label templates from the website and print your own, or you can buy premade fancy-pants labels like this one:
You can even write a handwritten note inside the book without a label, along these lines:
I've registered this book at 
so I can track it's journey
through the world. 
Please go to 
and enter this BCID: xxx-xxxxxx 
to let me know you found it. 
Then read it and/or pass it on for 
someone else to enjoy! Thank you!
Now comes the fun part. Bring the labeled book to a public place: coffee shop, park bench, doctor's office, bus stop - and leave it for someone else to find. (BookCrossing recommends you NOT release books in high security areas like airports. Being strip-searched is no fun for anyone.) When someone finds your book, they can go to the website, enter the BCID number, and you'll be able to track your book on it's journey.  Who knows? Your book just might circumnavigate the globe. 
There are other, more controlled ways to share Bookcrossing books, person to person. Check out the website for browsing other reader's wishlists, or create your own, and see what comes to you. 

"A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you pass it on you are enriched threefold."  - Henry Miller

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