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corner corner Combining BookCrossing and Geocaching

High tech bookcrossing, using Global Positioning Satellites

by nyisutter
March 25, 2004

I discovered BookCrossing through Geocaching, and since the two hobbies have many similarities, it is natural to combine them. I have had a lot of fun mixing the two. It is also a great way to tell geocachers about BookCrossing and vice versa. For those of you new to the term, Geocaching is a like a high tech treasure hunt where you find boxes of trade items, hidden using Global Positioning Satellites (GPS). Members go and find the caches using GPS receivers and sign the log book, trade items and then log online that they found the cache. These caches are hidden all over the world. More than likely there is one near you! This article describes some ways to combine the two hobbies.

Leave registered books in caches - Caches are great places to leave books. They are weatherproof and secure. The books won’t get thrown away before the right reader comes along. Caches are already set up for trading things. Geocachers are used to logging things online, so you don’t get that internet fear thing. And while it does take away some of the randomness, by limiting access to those who have GPSr's or good mapping skills, it is not much different than releasing a book in a building with limited access. And you never know which cacher might find the book appealing enough to trade for it.

Create a BookCrossing Cache - Many members have set up caches specifically for trading books. This is a great way to advertise BookCrossing. You can have an explanation and links to BookCrossing in your cache description. I leave pre-numbered labels in the cache so that those who didn’t label their books before coming to the cache can use them. My bookcrossing caches have been one of my main sources of new members, and a couple of these members have created their own book caches and OBCZs. I have started a list of Book trading caches. Some of these are not BookCrossing specific but they make great trading spots non the less. This list is in no way complete. If you find another book cache, let me know, I will add it to the list:

http://webpages.charter.net/nyisutter/bookcrossing/caches.html

BookCrossing Travel Bugs - Travel Bugs are geocaching’s equivalent to bookcrossing. They sell specially numbered dog tags that are tracked on the site. These tags can be attatched to anything that will fit in a cache. As with our books, these items have their own webpage on the site where you can read the logs that have been made by cachers, and see a map of the bug’s travels.

I, and few other bookcrossing/cachers, have attatched these tags to books. Cachers are encouraged to log the books at both BookCrossing.com and Geocaching.com. These have also been great ways of spreading the word about the site and gaining new members. And these books are well traveled because cachers know that they have to replace them back in a cache, so that they can continue their journey. And since people like to pick up Travel Bugs, they are grabbed often, and usually logged at BookCrossing. And in those few cases where the book is not logged at BookCrossing, I can still keep up with it through the travel bug logs.

Another fun aspect of travel bugs is that you can give them goals. My first bookcrossing Travel Bug, Mixed Signals, (http://www.geocaching.com/track/details.aspx?id=945) has been given the goal of reaching a cache in the city in which the story is set. Once there, the cacher is instructed to release the book in one of the places mentioned in the story. It is almost there! I have another book/bug that is trying to make it to the Library of Alexandra Cache and then on to the real Library of Alexandria in Egypt. These are just a few of my book/bugs. It just adds another twist to releasing books to be able to give them a goal and watch as others help it on the way.

I also recently started a Travel Bug with just the BC logo, called “BC goes caching” (http://www.geocaching.com/track/details.aspx?id=67542). It’s goal is to spread the word about BookCrossing and to encourage others to register and release books.



For more information on Geocaching see http://www.geocaching.com.

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