ME and Ophelia

Thursday, August 21, 2003

BBC NEWS | Wales | Setting free the books

*Have you found any good books in funny places lately?

If so, you may have stumbled across a web phenomenon which is quietly spreading across Wales - the experience.

To take part, people register their books at a website then set them free "in the wild" for other people to read, review and release once again. started in the US, but the idea has taken off internationally, with some members releasing literally hundreds of books for others to find.

The website began in 2001, and now has books registered in over 80 countries, from Afghanistan to Vietnam.

From clicking through the BookCrossing website, it becomes clear that it has become a springboard for local and international friendships, as well as a way of spreading literature in all shapes and sizes.

Many cities now have groups for "bookcrossers".

Each group meets up on the second Tuesday of the month at 19.00 local time for "informal, social interaction", as the website puts it.

Bookcrossers have also set up bookrings, where they send a book on to another member for them to enjoy and review, who in turn passes it on.

And in Europe, members from a number of countries have started writing their own book, in the form of a journal, which is posted or passed on to those who want to take part in writing it.

BookCrossing - the Urbis bookshelf - FREE YOUR BOOKS! founder Ron Hornbaker calls the movement the "karma of literature" designed to "make the whole world a library".*

To take part:

simply download the image of the Urbis bookcrossing sticker label:

Howdy! Hola! Bonjour! Guten Tag!
I'm a very special book. You see, I'm travelling 'round the world making new friends. I hope I've met another one in you. Please go to and make a journal entry with my BCID. Not only will you see where I've been, but my old friends will know I'm OK. Then...READ and RELEASE me!

then, go to the BookCrossing site to get an ID number, write it on the sticker and release the book into public yourself!

BBC NEWS | England | Manchester | Book swap hits streets

*On Saturday, 16 August 2003, Urbis released hundreds of books for others to find, read and pass on again - bringing the international project to the streets of Manchester, England, UK.

Manchester's Urbis museum is behind the book exchange's introduction to the UK and visitors are being urged to bring their old books in to take part.

People are asked to look out for books everywhere - from street corners to shopping arcades - in taxis, phone boxes and cafes all over the city!

Those who find the books are encouraged to read them and then release them back "into the wild" for others to pick up, read and pass on.

All of the books in the exchange have a Bookcrossing sticker on them with a unique ID number which is registered on the project's website.

When someone finds a stickered book they can go online to view the book's journey to them.

Known as Bookcrossing, the idea has already been introduced to the cities of Melbourne, Shanghair, Oslo, Montreal and Hong Kong.

Scott Burnham, Urbis creative director, said: "The beauty of Bookcrossing is that it's organic - this project will evolve and take on a life of its own as books are passed on and on".*
# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 8/21/2003
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