Saturday, 16 February 2008

Better than the Church Bookstall

What do you do with the piles of books that you've read and no longer want cluttering up your shelves? We usually wait until either the church Summer Fair or Christmas Fair and then haul them down to the bookstall. A colleague recently told me about Book Crossing. This is a website where you register a books you no longer want, are given a unique reference number which you write on a label in the book with an explanatory note, then release the book into the wild.
After years of reading John LeCarre novels this appealed to the clandestine in me: I loved the idea of surreptitiously leaving a book on a park bench or on a bus seat, hoping that no one will chase after you to return it.

Once you have released a book you hope that the finder will leave a comment on the website telling you where they found it and what they thought of it, before releasing it in a similar manner themselves.

I have released two books, both were books I loved - in fact one I liked so much that I didn't want to get rid of it, it was only by good luck that, ironically, I spotted The God of Small Things on sale for thirty pence at the Oldham Parish Church Coffee Morning Bookstall the other week when I was passing after buying fish on the market.

I released a Patrick O'Brien novel on a bench overlooking Salford Quays one lunchtime, I wanted to leave it somewhere fitting and this was the nearest I could get to the sea. The other I left folded in a copy of the Metro on a tram at Trafford Bar tram station.

So far, no one has 'fessed up to retrieving these books but at least I didn't return days later to find one damp and curled on the bench and the other blowing in pieces around the tram lines!

I think this is a fabulous idea and, as the year progresses, I hope to carry out further, more imaginative, deposits.


Lisa said...

Is that yours or mine?!

Our read books go to the Red Cross shop as my mum works there. Well I say works, she's a volunteer, it keeps her off the streets and probably more to the point away from my dad!!

I do hope your books have not been unceremoniously dumped in the bin, or sitting in some lost property office somewhere!

Bill Blunt said...

I have always prided myself on having a good imagination when it comes to making my deposits (and have never had any complaints, so far) but this idea is a wonderful one. Thanks for the information, Crofty!

Crofty said...

I'll take that as a compliment Lisa... it's yours of course!

Lisa said...

Woo hoo that make four pics on one page! Not counting the Oldham view one in your header of course!

soulMerlin said...

it's a great idea....knowing my luck, I would probably cause a security alert, with the law cordoning off a 'suspicious package'

The trouble with me is that I am SO attached to my books...even though I may never read some of them again ( you've give me a moral problem!)


UrbanCowgirl said...

I'm a bookcrosser too :-) I joined up about two and a half years ago now. I've had several 'journalled', and it is a great feeling when it happens. It's a wonderful idea. Also check out 'book-rings' which are lists of people who put their name down to receive a particular book in the mail. Person A posts the book to person B, person B reads it and sends it to person C, etc. I've read some great books that way, and you get to see what others thought of the book.

Are you going to post your bookcrossing name on your blog?

Crofty said...

Wow! That was a positive reaction - my Book Crossing name is the imaginatively titled CroftyBlogger.

I must ask the Book Crossing people whether there's one of those widgetty things to put on my blog to replace Shelfari which is irritating me and taking up far too much room.

Far From Perfect said...

I have no idea how I clicked my way to your blog... enjoy it very much. I love books, I love passing them on to others. Yours is a good idea. Thank You QP