Watching People React to Wild Releasesby ResQgeek
May 13, 2004
Have you ever been tempted to watch a book you've released to see who picks it up? This can be both a wonderfully entertaining and a terribly frustrating experience. It provides an interesting opportunity to observe human behavior and often requires quite
a bit of patience. In the end, you often know that your books have found new homes, even if they are never journaled.
One of my favorite release spots is the food court at a local shopping mall, because it provides me with an easy opportunity to observe my wild releases undetected. The area above the food court is open to the upper levels of the mall, so after releasing a book on a table in the food court, I go up one level and find a bench overlooking the food court. I usually bring a book to read while I wait for someone to spot the wild book.
I've seen a range of reactions to my books. Many people ignore the books or simply move them to the side. Some people look around to see if they can spot the owner. Often, when the food court is crowded, someone who has ignored the book will walk away, and someone else will ask them if they forgot their book. Sometimes the books spark conversations, and then I wish I was close enough to listen in!
One of the interesting things I've noticed is that you can never predict how any particular person is going to react. One of my first releases at this spot was Dates from Hell, a comical look at the ugly side of dating. I watched a number of people ignore or dismiss this book. I was just about ready to give up and leave when it was picked up by what looked like a middle-aged professional businessman or government employee. Not exactly the type of person I expected to catch that book. A romance novel I released here sparked a lengthy discussion between one of the cleaning staff and her supervisor, ending with the supervisor walking away with the book (hopefully not to the Lost-and-Found box!).
When I first began releasing books here, I was afraid that the cleaning staff might routinely remove them from the empty tables. However, when cleaning the tables with the wild books, they generally leave the released books, allowing them to continue waiting for someone to pick them up. So far, my only journaled catch from this location has been Wild Animus. Unfortunately, I didn't see this catch happen. I had watched three different sets of people sit at that table and ignore the book. I had to get back to my office, and left before the book was caught. However, I have seen a number of my other books caught. Hopefully they will be journaled someday, and I'll find out where they went.
If you have the time and patience, look for a release site where you can discretely wait and observe. You'll get an entertaining glimpse into the life of a wild book. Who knows... you might even witness one of your releases being caught!