November 30, 2008

Bookcrossing.com: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, Read and Release: The World is Your Library

Books are one of my favorite things in life, and a quick glance at the bookshelf… err, make that bookSHELVES… in my house reflect that… I have books in (almost) every room in my home, and each of them is overflowing.  I grew up with books; I always had a bookshelf in my bedroom as a kid, and I’ve consistently viewed reading as one of those unique pleasures that I just don’t get to do enough.  (Craigslisters take note: if you’re ever looking to get rid of a bookshelf, especially a bigger one, let me know… I somehow always seem to be looking for one.)  One of the coolest things to come along on the internet (at least for the serious bookworms among us) has got to be Bookcrossing.com.  Bookcrossing.com is the brainchild of Ron Hornbaker and was inspired by various other tracking sites on the ‘net, like WheresGeorge.com.  Launched in April of 2001, Bookcrossing.com has (as of this date) over 728,000 registered members in over 130 countries.  The premise is simple: if you have a book that you just don’t like, have an extra copy of, or know you just won’t read again, then you just go to Bookcrossing.com and register it (after you register yourself, of course… registration is free, by the way, for both you and the book[s]).  You’re given a Bookcrossing I.D. number for the book that you note in the book (usually on a label you can put on the inside cover), then go somewhere like a local coffee shop, and just let the book go (leave it there for someone else to find).  You note where it was released and when, then when someone else finds it, they can go and register where and when they found it; they read it, release it, and the cyle repeats itself.  You can follow the book’s adventures where ever it goes, adding to the fun.  There are forums on the site as well as conventions that take place from time to time in various locations.  As an educator, Bookcrossing.com is a great way to get my students not only interested in reading, but in geography as well.  I’ve released a few books with more in the works; I’d love to hear about others’ experiences with Bookcrossing… anyone?

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