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The Week of April 8, 2002

in this issue...



greetings...

I'm writing you today with a full belly... my darling wife Kaori paid me an unexpected visit over lunch and fixed some yummy pheasant stew (tastes like chicken). Hot stew was the perfect dish today in Kansas City, as the rainy and unseasonably chilly weather we've been having has gone on quite long enough. Our German Shorthair Pointer puppy, Leica, went nuts as she was preparing the bird, a frozen beauty left over from last fall's traditional family Thanksgiving hunt in Hutchinson, Kansas. Leica's genetic programming is starting to kick in, apparently. Every walk outside is spent scanning the bushes and sky for birds; seeing one, she trades her happy puppy face for a dead-serious game face, so to speak, and her intensity startles even me.

Anyway, since Kaori and I are planning a trip to San Francisco later this week, where we plan to spread the BookCrossing virus to as many coffee shops and used bookstores as we can find, I better get down to it here and give you the news. This is the inaugural BookCrossing News issue, by the way. You can expect one every week or so, unless you change your member preferences (see below).

 

and the weekly award goes to...

Every week I'm going to award either a BookCrossing Coffee Mug or T-Shirt (winner's choice) to the member who did the most for BookCrossing the previous week. This week's BookCrosser of Distinction was an easy choice (drum roll please):
Chris Meadows from Springfield, Missouri
Chris' bookshelf: http://bookcrossing.com/mybookshelf/robotech
Chris has been a member since only March 19, but he's been very active, with 82 books registered, 6 releases "into the wild", and 35 friends who've visited the site upon his referral. He's also been an active participant in our BookCrossing Discussion Group (up to 98 subscribers now!), helping me make the site better with great suggestions. Thank you, Chris, for everything you've done to support BookCrossing!

 

release had fate written all over it...

I get an email whenever journal entries are made at the site, and I try to scan them all. This one for Murder in the Sentier by Cara Black, released and found in California, is special, and illustrates that fate can indeed play a role in a book's release and potential find:
Journal Details: http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/88817
This from the Find notes: "I am going to read it! But the story is bizarre!! I went to Barnes & Noble today at 2pm and went thru the mystery section. I picked up this very book, read the cover and about the author, and started to buy it - BUT it was $13.95 in paperback so I put it down. I leave the bookstore and go to my office and there in the lobby on a bench is this book but now in hardcover. I find the bookcrossing note and figure it out that I get to read and release it - is this synchronicity or what??"

Remember that story as you're releasing books... you never know who's going to find them, or what it might mean to the lucky person.

 

need good stories for radio show...

I was contacted last week by a producer for the Basic Black radio show hosted by Arthur Black, which airs every Saturday morning for CBC Radio in Canada:
Basic Black Website: http://radio.cbc.ca/programs/basic_black/BB.html
Seems that Arthur wants to interview me and talk about BookCrossing on his show. Which is fortunate, since his show is one of the top-rated ones aired by CBC Radio (the NPR of Canada), and has between 500,000 and 1,000,000 listeners every Saturday! Looks like we're soon going to get a whole bunch of new members from up North, eh?

Anyway, I need your help! While I've got a whole bunch of anecdotes about BookCrossing, I'd like to get some new, fresh ones to talk about. If you know of any good stories about successful releases, or if BookCrossing has changed your life in a good, interesting way, or if you're using BookCrossing for a class project, or anything else you think is talk-show-worthy, please email me (ron@bookcrossing.com, or you can just reply to this message) and let me know the details. The interview is being taped April 17, and will air some time after that (I'll let you know when I know.)

 

new website features...

I've been busy busy busy the last couple of weeks adding features to the BookCrossing site. The most notable one is the new "Go Hunting" feature, where you can search for released books by Country, State/Province, City, and Crossing Zone:
Go Hunting: http://www.bookcrossing.com/hunt
You can see the current counts of released books by Country in the right sidebar of this newsletter. USA got an early start, but since the system is designed to allow anyone to add countries, states/provinces, cities, and crossing zones, I expect the international zones to be filling up fast.

Before people can hunt, however, others have to release. So get busy releasing your books on the site (http://www.bookcrossing.com/release), and if you've already released books, you can make release notes for them, too, with a date in the past. Eventually, I envision packs of rabid BookCrossers waiting for new releases in their city, ready to pounce on wild books and fight off all challengers. If only Marlin Perkins was still alive to bear witness to the carnage on Wild Kingdom. :)

 

how you can help the movement...

Since I get asked on a daily basis how to best help BookCrossing grow, and since a large and active BookCrossing community helps us all have more successful releases and thereby more fun, I'm going to list the top 10 ways you can help:
  • Use the Tell-A-Friend feature at the website: http://www.bookcrossing.com/tellafriend to quickly tell one, or one hundred, friends about BookCrossing by email.

  • Forward this Newsletter to your friends, along with a personal request that they join.

  • Tell your local coffee shops and used bookstores about BookCrossing. The best way is to print out the article from Book magazine: http://www.bookcrossing.com/BookMagazine-PluggedIn-BookCrossing.html and leave it with them. Have them contact me for details on becoming a featured Crossing Zone, since we'll be listing those on the site in the near future.

  • If you know anyone in the media biz (radio, TV, newspaper, magazine, publishing, etc.), make sure to tell them about BookCrossing and encourage them to feature on it. Stress to them the nobility of our cause, the grass-roots growth efforts, the lack of big-wig corporate sponsors.

  • Speaking of corporate sponsors, the one we've got our eye on is Starbucks. I know many of you may have mixed feelings about that big corporate chain, but they're everywhere. And there would be no quicker way to grow BookCrossing than to have a formal Crossing Zone with display set up in every Starbucks worldwide. If anyone knows anybody towards the top of that corporate food chain, please contact me directly.

  • If you've got a website, make sure to grab one of our eye-catching logos and link code from the My Bookshelf page: http://www.bookcrossing.com/mybookshelf and put it on your site.

  • Finally, and probably the most effective method: when you talk to you friends who love books, be sure to talk to them about BookCrossing. There is nothing more powerful than true word-of-mouth, and money cannot buy it.

Well, that about does it. Thanks for reading this far, and for your continued support of BookCrossing. Remember that BookCrossing is nothing without people like you who appreciate what we're trying to do and build. I appreciate every last one of you, and welcome your comments and suggestions anytime.

Happy 'Crossing,

Ron



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