When BookCrossing first launched, I remember looking at it and wondering if it would take off. And it has. BookCrossing is huge. International. Many, many people are actively involved; they even go to BookCrossing conventions.
There have been the usual discussions of whether this kind of bookswapping helps or hurts authors. It’s an important question, but one with no clear answer. There are some obvious benefits — a book released into the wild may well be picked up by somebody who has never heard of the author. BCers believe that that they buy more books rather than fewer books because of BookCrossing.
Some readers resent this question even being asked. For them, authors who are uncomfortable with the idea of BookCrossing come across as greedy or self serving. In fact, authors are just people trying to make a living in a tough business. Of course the author has no legal right to any kind of compensation after the first sale of a given book. On the other hand, if readers don’t make an effort to support the author, that body of work will be short lived. A person who reads voraciously and never, ever buys a new book is a person who is not looking at the bigger picture. Are there many people like this? I don’t know. I wonder, though.
I don’t think I’ll ever get into BookCrossing in a big way, though it is interesting to watch the way books move around and how people respond. Today there are 131 copies of the Wilderness books listed on BookCrossing as ‘traveling’ or ‘to be read’ or ‘permanent collection’.
Anybody here involved in the BC thing? Anybody ever ‘caught’ a wild book? I haven’t, myself. I’m curious about people who have.