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The official BookCrossing logo

BookCrossing (also: BC, BCing or BXing) is defined as "the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise." The term is derived from, a free online book club which began in order to encourage the practice, aiming to "make the whole world a library."

The 'crossing' or exchanging of books may take any of a number of forms, including wild releasing books in public, direct swaps with other members of the websites, or "book rings" in which books travel in a set order to participants who want to read a certain book. The community aspect of has grown and expanded in ways that were not expected at the outset, in the form of blog or forum discussions, mailing lists and annual conventions throughout the world.


[edit] History

Ron Hornbaker conceived the idea for what is now known as BookCrossing in March 2001.[1] About four weeks later, on April 17, he launched the website, which has expanded and grown throughout the world.[2][3] By April 2003 the website had over 113,000 members, and in 2004 the Concise Oxford Dictionary included the word "bookcrossing".[4] In the same year, BookCrossing was featured as a part of a storyline in the Australian soap opera Neighbours.[5] As of 22 October 2008, had over 718,000 members, with over 5,100,000 registered books.[6]

In July 2007 Singapore became the first official BookCrossing country in the world. In an initiative was launched together with the National Library of Singapore, 2,000 locations within the country were designated as 'hotspots', similar to Official BookCrossing Zones.[7] In 2008, BookCrossing was introduced to Abu Dhabi as part of a joint venture with the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage.[8]

[edit] Awards

In May 2005 won two People's Voice awards in the Webby Awards for best community website and best social/networking website.[9] BookCrossing was also featured in a BBC Radio project broadcast as 84 Book Crossing Road, which involved releasing 84 copies of Helene Hanff's book 84 Charing Cross Road around the world. The programme was produced by Tim Heffer and Alan Hall of Falling Tree Productions, and was nominated for a Sony Radio Academy Award in 2006.[10]

[edit] About

Books are "set free" into public places...

Anyone who wishes to participate in "releasing" books, whether leaving it in a public place or passing it on to a friend, must register on the website[11], although there is the option to remain anonymous when "catching" or recording the find of a book. users can 'go hunting', where a member will go to the website to view a list of books that have recently been "released", then go to the location it was left to "catch" it. Books may also be left at Official BookCrossing Zones" (OBCZs), which are located in certain coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and other public places. The purpose of these locations is to get current members in the area to leave books to share with the public. This also advertises BookCrossing and creates more members.[12]

[edit] Controversy and criticism

In 2003, BookCrossing was criticized by Jessica Adams, author of several "chick lit" novels, who claimed that books were being "devalued" by the website as BookCrossing could lead to lower sales of books and, therefore, the reduction in royalties being paid to authors.[13]Most BookCrossers dispute this argument, however. They claim that the website introduces readers to authors and genres that they have not read before, that the website encourages more people to take up or reclaim reading as a hobby, and that some members, having read a book that they have enjoyed, will buy extra copies to distribute through BookCrossing.[citation needed]

In March 2005, Caroline Martin, managing director of the publisher Harper Press, said in a speech that "book publishing as a whole has its very own potential Napster crisis in the growing practice of bookcrossing".[14] BookCrossers rebut the link to Napster, saying that whilst music filesharing involves duplicating audio files countless times, BookCrossing doesn't involve duplicating books. Founder, Ron Hornbaker, originally wondered if people would make this comparison when BookCrossing was first launched.[15]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Dan Nephin (2002-09-11). "Site Says 'If you Love a Book, Set it Free'". USA Today. Retrieved on 2008-03-27. 
  2. ^ Louisa Schaefer (2006-07-14). "Germans Warm up to Quirky Book-Sharing Fad". Deutsche Welle.,2144,2095746,00.html. Retrieved on 2008-03-28. 
  3. ^ Sarah Miloudi (2008-03-17). "Growing Craze for Book Crossing". Western Mail. Retrieved on 2008-03-28. 
  4. ^ Soanes, Catherine; Angus Stevenson (2006). Concise Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 
  5. ^ 'mattster27' (2004-11-15). "tv show neighbours promotes bookcrossing". Retrieved on 2008-04-04. 
  6. ^ Rebecca Wigood (2008-03-15). "Release a Cosy Mystery and Watch it Travel". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved on 2008-03-28. 
  7. ^ Foo Xiao Xuan (2007-07-03). "Singapore is First BookCrossing Country in the World". Singapore News. Retrieved on 2008-03-28. 
  8. ^ "'BookCrossing' Comes to Abu Dhabi". Middle East Online. 2008-03-04. Retrieved on 2008-03-28. 
  9. ^ "9th Annual Webby Awards: Named Best Community Website and Best Social/Networking Website in the People's Voice Awards". 2005-05-03. Retrieved on 2008-03-28. 
  10. ^ "Sony Radio Academy Awards". 2006. Retrieved on 2008-03-28. 
  11. ^ "Free Culture". The Telegraph. 2008-03-16. Retrieved on 2008-03-28. 
  12. ^ Rebekah Denn (2003-09-05). "Readers are Leaving a Trail of Free Books All Over the Place". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved on 2008-03-27. 
  13. ^ Crummey, Andrey (2003-09-13). "If Authors Love Books, then they Should Set Them Free". Scotland On Sunday. Retrieved on 2008-12-30. 
  14. ^ Andrew Cave (2006-10-15). "A Novel Idea Has Led to Best-Sellers Turning up in the Strangest of Places". The Telegraph. Retrieved on 2008-03-27. 
  15. ^ Clint Witchalls (2003-02-20). "Finders Keepers". The Guardian. Retrieved on 2008-03-27. 

[edit] Further reading

Juliana Ribas Tiraboschi De mão em mão, Revista Galileu 05-2008 (Portuguese)

[edit] External links

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