The Library Has Left Its Building
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The Library Has Left Its Building

2006_11_28bookcrossinggroup.jpgThink the World’s Biggest Bookstore. Scratch that – think of a bookstore of free books that is as big as the world.
Inspired by tracking websites such as Where’s George? (the U.S. counterpart of Where’s Willy?), Ron Hornbaker and Kaori Iha-Hornbaker gave birth to BookCrossing– members leave books in random public places for others to find, read, and leave in another place for another person. Referred to as “releasing books ‘into the wild,'” it’s a method of literary communication that plays on the message in a bottle idea. As of this moment, BookCrossing has gained 514, 177 members since its launch on April 17, 2001, without spending a cent on PR.
A donated book is labeled with a BookCrossing identification (BCID) for the “finder” to enter in on the website so BookCrossing can keep track of it, whether it is in possession of a “finder,” a “releaser,” or on its happy journey. Sometimes the finders are keepers, which is fine; as long as the book makes someone other than just the “releaser” happy.
Books are released and captured all over this planet Earth, from Brazil and Switzerland to Japan and New Zealand. Here in Toronto, the most recent release is Silver Bells by Luanne Rice at Woodbine station last Monday. Someone likes (or rather, probably dislikes) R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series and unleashed a set of these excuses for horror stories at Danforth and Coxwell about four weeks ago. It seems to be the spot for witches, ghosts, and vampires.
Take a look at BookCrossing’s online store – in addition to release kits, they have neat earrings – then make like Nancy Drew and find out if she’s still sleuthing in the city.