Monday, May 18, 2009

Book Crossing!

Book crossing, n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise. (Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 2004)

A couple of years ago, a friend told me about the Book Crossing website, a program that helps make “the whole world a library.” Intrigued, I checked it out.

They encourage readers to pass on books to promote literacy (and help clear your bookshelves) by leaving them in random places throughout the world, like coffee shops, park benches, airports. Anyone who finds the book is encouraged to read it and pass it on. The ultimate lending library!

Even more fun is to check the book on their website (ID numbers are listed on the inside cover) to see the locations where it has been logged in, and note your temporary possession.

For instance, I recently came upon a copy of a celebrity bio and I plunked its Book Crossing ID number into the site. I saw that it had started in northern California, moved once in that area, then onto the state of Washington, where it was noted one more time. I registered it as “found” in Los Angeles.

However, I do want to mention that I didn’t get this Book Crossing book in the usual way, by finding it lying around. I got this out-of-print celebrity bio through an Amazon used bookseller. Which was not cool with me at all.

I wrote to them three times, explaining that reselling a Book Crossing book is like reselling a book they’d borrowed from their public library. That the book had been donated by an owner to this program, had markings on the cover and inside to this effect, and was not for resale. But I got zero satisfaction. They maintained they could sell any book they wanted--including library books.

So what to do? The right thing. I’m going “eat” the purchase price, and after I read it, I will leave it somewhere to rejoin the vast Book Crossing world. Hey, maybe I’ll even take it to the Romance Writers of America conference in Washington, D.C., and leave it there?

So…do you know about Book Crossing? Have you ever participated in the program? And if not, does the program interest you?


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stephhale said...

I have heard of Book Crossing and although I haven't participated before I am planning to soon! I ran into one of my old co-workers the other day and she told me that she bought an autographed copy of Spring Breakup from an Amazon bookseller. It was obviously someone who had won a contest and resold the book which I thought was beyond tacky!

TinaFerraro said...

Steph, that's happened to me, too, but I like to think it's the books I randomly sign in bookstores. I don't ask if there's a dedication--don't want to know!

Speaking of signed books, I had a funny experience. ABC's had JUST come out, and I'd signed stock in my hometown, and then at a B&N in AZ.

A friend told me that her friend who lived out-of-state had picked up her own signed copy of ABC's. I was totally confused how that could happen, until I asked where she lived.

An yep, same city, same state, and of the several B&N's in the area, she obviously went to the only one where I'd signed stock. Okay, what were the odds of THAT?

The Golfing Librarian said...

I had never heard of this program until you mentioned problem a couple weeks ago. I think I'll hit the website later today and check it out.
BTW, I would never sell my autographed "Buzz Girl" books. However, when the market reached 6 figures, I might be tempted! ;)

TinaFerraro said...

Chuck, if one of my books ever resells for six figures, I'll be reselling them myself! LOL.

Janie Emaus said...

I have heard of Book Crossing and thought what a cool idea. I'll have to check out the website to learn more about it.

Summer said...

Never heard it. But I'm gonna check it out!

Thao said...

This program is so cool, I've never heard of it before. People who sell Book Crossing Book are just...ugh. Although it seems inevitable, it's still so bad.

Kate at Read This Book! said...

I've heard of Book Crossing before but I've never participated. I'd love to participate in it in future. =)

Marley Gibson said...

Oooo...I've heard of this! I think it's a pretty cool idea. I agree that it's way past tacky to sell a book you got through there. It's like someone selling an's just...uncouth. LOL!