14 March 2010

A Dark & Stormy Night ...

I swear, I'm the Queen of the procrastinators! I set this blog up at the end of February, and here I am on the 14th of March, writing my first post. Then again, it's not like anyone was holding his/her breath, waiting for this to show up!

Here's my introduction: I've been a member of Bookcrossing since December 2006. I was in my favorite cafe and spied a book that someone had left on a table. Said book had a Bookcrossing logo on it with the web site. The whole thing fascinated me, so I went online, checked it out, and immediately became a member. My Bookcrossing alias is Germanophile.

The whole concept is spelled out on www.bookcrossing.com, so go over there to get the Big Picture. I think the idea of tracking books came to the BC founder, Ron Hornbaker, after he had seen the success of another tracking site, www.wheresgeorge.com - a site where I'm also a member.

It's fairly simple: a member registers his/her book @ the BC website, where said book is assigned a Bookcrossing Identification Number, called BCID. That number is written down in the book somewhere, usually on a label especially for that purpose, so that, one hopes, when the book goes elsewhere, the next reader/finder will go to the BC website, enter the BCID, and state where he/she found it.

Yes, it might sound silly, but no worse than wondering where ones dollar bills are going to show up around the country & the world, which they do over @ the enormously popular Where's George? site.

Although Bookcrossing can be as anonymous as one wishes, many members are not anonymous at all, sharing books and idea with other members. The site is absolutely packed with "stuff" - forums, things to do, convention locations, and on and on. I'm not doing it justice, but if you're a BC member, you don't need this intro. Non-BC members should just go visit the site!

I have met some absolutely terrific Bookcrossers onlne and in person. I think BC members are just terrific, very generous people, people who love books and want to share them with others, at no cost.

There are two basic ways of "unloading" a book, called Releasing. One can leave a book in a restaurant, gas station, or any place one desires. One hopes that someone will find the book and go online to make a "journal entry," stating when and where he/she found the book. This is called a "wild release" and is always kinda iffy. I've not had good luck with my wild releases. People seem to find the books and take them home, but very few go online to see what subside is.

The opposite of this is a "controlled release," whereby a member gives the book to someone he/she knows. We members trade with each other all the time, or just send the book to someone else as a "Random Act of Bookcrossing Kindness," called RABCK. Lately, I've been doing more and more of this versus the wild release, because there are several books I want to give to people who really want to read them. The RABCKs are a lot of fun, and now I have books floating around on 3 continents!

I'm a big participant in the many Forums on BC, too. Many nationalities take part in BC, which is great, so there are forums for French, German, and Spanish speakers, to name just 3 languages. I contribute to the English-language forums, but I also go to the German and Scandinavian Forums as well. OK, I can speak German and Swedish, so that makes sense. Occasionally, I'll venture over to visit the French, a language I studied for about 12 years, but also a language I've forgotten. I know enough to write stuff on the French forum, so I'm happy.

By the way, I'm not kidding about the dark and stormy night, either. As I write this, Daylight Saving Time started a while ago, so I've already lost an hour of sleep! It is raining to beat the band, and it is incredibly windy, too, which is freaking me out just a tad. I have a cat (one of four) sleeping in her bed near my desk, so I guess there's no one spooky around.

Even though there are forums on Bookcrossing, and people talk back-and-forth all the time, I feel there's not enough room to do any sort of review of books, and I use that word "review" lightly. I have favorite authors and books I'd like to talk about, and my Facebook idea turned out to be a bust, which is why I turned to a blog. I'm burping that Bookcrossing friends from the site will check it out over here and leave comments and/or suggestions about other books.

Perhaps people who've never heard of BC will be interested sough to check out the site and become a Bookcrosser! Just tell 'em I sent you!

Hey, if it doesn't work, I can always pack up my tent and go elsewhere, right?