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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

BookCrossing: A Modern-Day Message In A Bottle For Readers!

The San Francisco Chronicle calls it, "a modern-day message in a bottle."

Book Magazine calls it, "an unlikely global sociology experiment."

Have you heard of BookCrossing? It's the world's library, and if you live in (or are traveling to) one of 132 countries that currently participate, you're ready to sign up!

Imagine you wander into a tiny bar in Pamplona, Spain. It's filled with people, high stools, tapas, and eclectic artwork. You sit down with your cerveza or sangria and pick up the book at the end of the bar. It's Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. The inside cover states, "I'm not lost. I'm on a journey." It has a "BookCrossing" ID number and a little info about the program inside.

You pick up the book, give it a read, and drop it off in Dublin, Ireland the following week. Or in a tiny cheese shop in Paris, France. Or in a Chicago pizza place. Someone else picks it up and does the same thing.

It's the ultimate Catch & Release program for readers. You can register online and start sending your own donated books into the world (after assigning them an ID number). Then you can use the registry to see where BCID'd (Book Crossing ID) books are.

Want an excuse to travel to Japan (currently has 28 books), Finland (792 books), or Brazil (884 books)? Tell your employer, "Yeah, Dave. Um, I'm gonna have to take three weeks off. I gotta go hunt down a few books." There's currently one in the Dead Sea area of Jordan if anyone feels like going on a treasure hunt.

The United Kingdom currently has 80,000 members. The USA has nearly 320,000 members. Canada is at 43,000 members and Spain has 35,000. Care to be the next member?

Here are links to more information:
About BookCrossing

Country Member Page (hunt for books)

Frequently Asked Questions

Note: In certain areas, there are designated "crossing zones" to leave books, but some listed locations remain very general. There is no guarantee that your book will be found. Right now, because the program is fairly new, the percentage is around 20-25%, depending on where it's put and how it's labeled (for instance, if you're in a coffee shop, tell an employee what you're doing by leaving the book there--they can tell other customers about the program).

Happy Book hunting, finding, catching, & releasing!


  1. I love this idea! Already I'm thinking about incorporating it into my summer travels!

  2. OMG that's freaking awesome! It's like geocashing for books!!

  3. Whoa, that's too cool! What a fun idea!

  4. This is such a clever idea! Its like when you put a mark on a dollar bill to see if it ever comes back to you... haha ( : Love it!

  5. I was going to say the same thing as Lisa, it sounds like Geocaching - which is super fun by the way.

  6. I did hear about this recently--wouldn't it be fun to come across one of these books, and pass it on?

  7. This sounds so cool. I hadn't heard about it yet. My kids are into Geocaching, but this will hook my English major daughter and her friends even more. I'm sending her your link. Thanks.

  8. I love this idea, too! I definitely plan to check out more details of how it works. What do you do when you find a book? do you leave a note in it and put it in a place for the next person to find?

  9. Okay, I'm back from reading it. Debating whether to create a NYT login so I can leave comments, but for now, let me tell you - sweet! I love the evoking scents and images you open with, and the airport interchange. Bollywood - smile :)

  10. What a neat idea!

  11. This is amazing. I remember reading about it a few months ago but I didn't have any book I was willing to part with to join... now maybe I should reconsider? :)

  12. So cool. I 'd never heard of it before but it's amazing!! Oh, and I loved that you used a Chicago pizza place - perfect venue:)

    Blogger won't let me ID myself, but it's Lindsay from Tiptoe-Kisses

  13. What an awesome idea! Really brilliant. I'd love to be part of this. Thanks for sharing.

  14. What a fun idea! Books are all about sharing. Though I don't travel much, so it would be hard for me to participate much.

    Can't do this program with an ebook!

  15. Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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