BookCrossing – Read and Release!
March 5, 2010
As a few friends pack up for Spring Break travels we’ve talked about the “book dilemma”. How can one head to the beach, the ski cabin, the Lido deck with just one book? Impossible! Several (4, 5, 6?) selections must be on hand which can involve some creative planning and packing. Some readers have ventured into the world of electronic tablets for reading on the road … others of us are just not there yet (if we ever get there!) One solution I love the idea of is BookCrossing. If you’ve ever had to jettison books before boarding the plane in order to avoid excess baggage charges you’ll love this concept. Read on to learn more and then Bon Voyage to you and your books!
The idea for BookCrossing came to Ron Hornbaker back in March of 2001, as he and his wife Kaori were admiring the PhotoTag.org site, which tracks disposable cameras loosed into the wild. He already knew about the popularity of WheresGeorge.com (which tracks U.S. currency by serial number), and that got him thinking: what other physical object might people enjoy tracking? A few minutes later, after a glance at his full bookshelf, the idea of tracking books occurred to him. After two hours of research on the Internet, Ron realized, to his surprise, that nothing like BookCrossing had been done on any significant scale. And so they went to work. By 3 A.M. that morning, they had decided on the name (zero hits for “bookcrossing” on Google), registered the domain, and Kaori had sketched the running book logo on a crossing sign. The rest was merely execution.
With the backing of his partners, Heather and Bruce Pedersen, Ron went to work programming the site from scratch the next day, and about four mostly sleepless weeks later, on April 17, 2001, www.bookcrossing.com was launched. Members trickled in at the rate of 100 or so per month until March of 2002 when the Book magazine article was published. Since then, BookCrossing has been the focus of countless TV, radio, and newspaper features around the world, gets about 300 new members every day, has its own category in the human-edited Google Directory, in Wikipedia, and has been added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary as a new word. Over the past 7 years, BookCrossing has continued to grow, and move closer to making the whole world a library. It has captured the passion and imagination of over (740,000) people worldwide who help spread the bounty of books through http://www.bookcrossing.com. Read and Release!