Thursday, July 7, 2005

It's a Treasure Hunt: Calling all Booklovers!

Posted by kuri, ping, the pinglet, & mini-ping on 7/07/2005
An article I wrote about one of my favorite sites! (Published in June 2005 edition of the AFWJournal for the Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese)

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

Would you pause if you came across the above entry in a dictionary? BookCrossing--the idea of leaving the fate of your books, your most treasured items, up to the whims of the laws of the universe. It's mind-boggling.

But what an idea! Making the "whole world a library," says Ron Hornbaker, the creator of was created and is maintained by Humankind Systems, Inc., a software and internet development company. This venture took off with the idea of track the release of various items into the "wild," such as disposable cameras ( or U.S. currency ( not books? With a full bookshelf behind him as inspiration, Ron launched in April 2001 and today, there are 300,000 members worldwide who have registered 1.9 million books on the site...and every one of them is a booklover!

You can find books that have been released in dozens of countries--from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Mirror sites have been created in Spanish, German, Dutch, French, and Italian to provide a place where booklovers can trade, release, and discuss books in their language of choice.

Members from all around the world can do any of the following:

  • release their books “into the wild,” where you leave a book in a café or on a park bench and hope that someone picks it up. You can also go “hunting” for books that have been released into the wild;
  • put together “book rays” or “book boxes,” where a specific book or box makes its way around the world
  • set up “book rings,” where a book will make its way back to you (eventually!);
  • institute a RABCK (Random Acts of BookCrossing Kindness), where members can send books where people most need it after checking out a particular member’s wish list.

BookCrossing is a wonderful concept of sharing the contents of your bookshelves with other like-minded people. If you would like to see what treasures my (virtual) bookshelf holds, please visit me at:! I have a 100-year old book given to me by a friend that will be making its way around the world (as soon as I've read it!)...register yourself and become part of the BookCrossing family!

Other sites of interest: (recommended at

2 of you feeling verklempt. Tawlk amongst yourselves:

Mom said...

Hey Chrissy....I joined book I just have to find some books to release :-)

kuri & ping said...

Yeah! Bookcrossing name, please! :)


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