What is BookCrossing?

From the first book registered in the USA in 2001, BookCrossing has grown to attract millions of members across the globe, who have registered many millions of books.

BookCrossing means many different things to different people, but at it’s heart it is the act of registering books and then setting them free to begin a journey around the world. It is officially defined as ‘the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise’.

Registering a book on the BookCrossing website provides a unique ID number which can be used to track the book’s travels. Each person who receives the book can make journal entries to share their experience and views with the rest of the BookCrossing community, including everyone who has held that book before. Many journal entries are entertaining and beautiful in their own right and can bring great joy to those whose hands the book has already passed through.

When someone is ready to pass a book on they can either ‘release it to the wild’ (by leaving it anywhere from a shopping centre to the top of a mountain) or make a ‘controlled release’ by handing or sending it to a named individual.

BookCrossing has become much more than just registering and releasing books and now encompasses everything from competition releases, sweepstakes and secret parcel swaps to local, national and international meet-ups. This is where the annual Convention comes in.

(The text above is based on a text posted for the Oxford convention. Reuse of the text has been approved by the chair of the Oxford Convention Committee.)


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