9.27.2003

Book Crossing

I have just found one of those websites that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, that makes me think that people really are as wonderful as I always hope they are. Book Crossing is a site that tracks books that are left for free for others to pick up, at coffee shops or other locations, but it is much more than that. It's a huge forum for book-lovers, and it's a place that shows how much people like to share the things they love with others, even people they don't know and will never meet. The idea is that once you've read a book (and you're willing to part with it - a skill I am not good at at all, as you can tell by the four overstuffed bookshelves at my house), you register it at Book Crossing, then you put the ID number inside the book and leave it for someone to find. You can tell Book Crossing where you "released it into the wild" and people who would rather hunt for books and seek them out instead of being content to happen across them, can "go hunting" and look up all the locations in their area where books have recently been released. That way, you can find out that someone left a free copy of the new Stephen King you've been wanting to read at the Starbucks downtown yesterday, so hopefully you can get there before it's gone! Once you find a book, you go to Book Crossing and enter its ID number and your location, and essentially it continues to track the book as long as people log in when they find it. You can look up the "most traveled" books - and there are books all over the world on this site. There are some people on this site who appear to just make a habit of going to used book stores, buying tons of books, and just mass-releasing them into the wild for people to find and read for free, and to track their progress online. I'd like to do this with many of the books that are clogging my house, that I need to slowly whittle down in the next seven months. I have a goal to have one box of books to put in storage when we move, and the rest will have to go to new homes. I love the idea of free book-sharing, as I've never had the stuffed bank account I would need to support the kind of book-buying I've always wanted to do. And while I've always been lucky to have friends loan me loads of books (many of which I'm trying to work my way through at the moment), this Book Crossing thing just seems like the best idea ever.

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