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If you love something, set it free

On Saturday, I discovered Tiffany sitting at the computer, logged into a webpage called BookCrossing, which is some kind of crunchy-granola peer-to-peer book swapping network. (My first question to her: Does the RIAA know about this?) She was busily entering the ISBN’s of her soon-to-be-liberated paperbacks, applying BookCrossing stickers to them (they had arrived in the mail on Friday), and plotting where she’d set them free. We dropped off a couple at Rudyard’s later that night, she’s got jury duty today and will be depositing a couple others there, and so on. All of this was entered into the BookCrossing database – title, category, “release notes”, where released, etc. I’ve been greatly amused by the whole thing.

You never know what this sort of thing can bring, though. Tiffany has a fondness for trashy paperback romance novels (best recent title: Nerd in Shining Armor). BookCrossing allows you to search for books by category, and on Sunday she had received an email from a woman in Tehran who was very interested in getting her hands on any of these books. Apparently, trashy American romance novels are a rarity there (go figure), so having noticed Tiffany’s recent entries, this woman wanted to know if she’d reconsider her release strategy. As such, Tiffany has decided to mail some books to this woman instead. (My second question to her: Are you sure this won’t land us on some Ashcroftian blacklist?)

Anyway, if you’re overburdened with paperbacks and find this sort of thing appealing, read about BookCrossing and see if it’s for you. You never know where your books may wind up.

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2 Comments

  1. Steve says:

    BookCrossing is great, as is Mark Anderson’s Booklend.net, a project (that I did the website for) in which Mark lends his library out for free.

    Those who live near Baltimore may also be interested in the Book Thing, a fairly sizable free books. Show up on the weekend, bring any donations you want to give, and pick up any books that interest you.

  2. William Hughes says:

    I actually heard about this in a New York Newsday article some time ago. The concept is interesting since it allows people to leave their unwanted books anywhere.

    I haven’t actually used, but it’s great for book lovers everywhere.