I was delighted to come across a shelf of books with BookCrossing labels in a coffee shop in Cardiff, Wales, in November last year. I had heard about BookCrossing before, but this was my first sighting.
The concept is straightforward: you release a book on a park bench, in a pub, anywhere — after first registering it at the website and labelling it. You can support the costs of running the website by buying labels or you can print your own. (The label artwork shown here is a limited edition design called Al Centro della Propria Ragnatela — At the Centre of the Spider Web — by Roberta Ragona.) I think it captures the idea of Book Crossing perfectly.
Those who find the book may read it, make journal entries at the website, and release it again. You can follow the trail of a book—potentially all over the world, and through the hands of many readers.
I read my BookCrossing book, although it was not a particularly good book. Nevertheless, I wanted to honour the process. I dutifully made the journal entries and released it at a favourite coffee shop in North Vancouver. At the same time, I released one of my own all-time favourite books. It struck me that this is a way to streamline the bookshelves, which are, as ever, overflowing. Here is a way to pass along books that I have loved. I hope they will find appreciative readers, but any responses will be interesting.
You can check by area which books released in the last 30 days have not yet “been caught.” There are 15 books in North Vancouver waiting to be picked up. I like the variety of the locations, or “Crossing Zones” — for example:
- #7 bus heading towards Dunbar
- Canadian Blood Services
- Westender newspaper box
- Pay phone at York and Yew
as well as the coffee shops that are the most favoured release locations.