On the heels of a blog post I wrote about asking folks “What Are You Reading?” we received some really excellent comments about how authors, publicists and publishers are sharing and starting conversations about their books.
That reminded me of a site I’d seen years ago developed to track a book’s journey around the globe… Which sent me searching the worldwide web ’til I found it again. I’d honestly never thought of the potential marketing value (and sheer fun) for an author…
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What is BookCrossing?
BookCrossing is the act of giving a book a unique identity so, as the book is passed from reader to reader, it can be tracked and thus connecting its readers. There are currently 2,054,231 BookCrossers and 9,871,367 books travelling throughout 132 countries.
You sign up on the website for free and then register a book that you want to share with the rest of the world. Your book is assigned a unique code (a BCID) which you write onto the front cover along with a message indicating the book is registered on BookCrossing. You can order labels from the site to make things easier, or even download free labels templates. (We ordered some since we could customize them and not have to go buy blank labels and print them.)
Then you release the book into the world. Leave it on a park bench, at the airport, anyway someone will be pleasantly surprised to find it. The lucky finder jumps onto the website, enters the BCID and sees where the book came. Once read the finder should leave a comment on the website and re-release the book into the world.
Label. Share. Follow. Breath new life into books instead of letting your old favorites collect dust – pass them along to another reader. The online archival and tracking system allows members to connect with other readers, journal and review literature and trade and follow their books.
Who are BookCrossers?
According to the website, bookcrossers tend to be the most generous, innovative, earth-friendly, good-hearted, whimsical, fun and educated people on the face of the planet. How about we add to that and make them savvy authors. Not only might it be a marketing tactic – but think of the blog fodder you’ll have if a book or two begins to have a travel life all its own!
Where in the world is BookCrossing:
Here are the top 10 BookCrossing countries:
- USA 29%
- Germany 16%
- United Kingdom 13%
- Netherlands 11%
- Finland 10%
- Canada 8%
- Australia 5%
- France 4%
- Portugal 3%
- Spain 1%
That’s it in a nutshell, but the site offers lots more in terms of community sharing, a partnership with another favorite co., Better World Books, social networking with other readers, forums, even the opportunity to provide articles and photos about your book for their newsletter.
Let us know if you’ve already tried Book Crossing or when you give it a try – we’ll be interested to hear your stories!
Creator of Where Writers Win, Shari Stauch has been involved in publishing, marketing and PR for 30 years. She is also the principal author of the WWW blog, and speaks at conferences around the country. The Where Writers Win team’s newest collaboration is The Winner Circle – vetted book review directories, book clubs and other cultivated resources for emerging authors.