June 13, 2002
in this issue...
not all locations are book-friendly
First the good news: a few days ago, BookCrossing crossed the 10,000 Members milestone! (We're up to 10,564 as I type.) The press has been relentless (a very good problem to have) - we've been featured in dozens of newspapers, and several network television news stories, in the last 3 weeks. We're currently getting over 100 new members daily, and the number continues to climb. I'm expecting even more press in the next couple of months, as we're going to be featured in the July issue of the Utne Reader magazine, and CNN has shown interest in a feature. To top it off, the Associated Press interviewed me recently, and when that goes out on the wire any number of press entities may pick it up. A big thank you goes out to all the BookCrossers who have agreed to be interviewed by their local reporters.
And now the bad news. Or maybe I should say not-so-good news. This week we received an email message that just begs to be shared here:
From: Hunt Valley Mall 12
Sent: Monday, June 10, 2002 4:35 PM
Subject: books being left
Please notify your members that they
should not be leaving your books in
this theatre's restrooms or anywhere
in this theatre.
We are at the Hoyts Hunt Valley
Cinemas, in Hunt Valley Maryland.
Fifteen months of nothing-but-friendly email about BookCrossing, and then this gem. Think of the absurdity for a moment: compared to cleaning up popcorn, sticky soda, and gooey nacho cheese, what's the big deal with a book or two? Do we have an insidious plot underway by theatre managers to discourage reading? Are general managers of theatres perhaps threatened by the mere presence of books?
All sarcasm aside, let's see what we can learn from this message - besides to avoid that Hoyts theatre. Well, just be aware that some establishments in this world are not keen on having books left, and it always pays to at least mention to the manager on the premises what you're doing by leaving books behind. Explain that others may come to their location looking for these books, each of these BookCrossers a new potential customer. If the manager objects, take your books (and perhaps your business) elsewhere. If the manager is receptive, and I should stress most are, then support them with your continued patronage, and let them know we plan to feature good Crossing Zones like theirs on the website in the near future.
And if you want to make your voice heard by the corporate management of Hoyts Cinemas (as I have done without response so far), which runs some 103 theatres in 12 U.S. states, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You might ask them to clarify their stance for or against BookCrossing, and find out if the general manager in Hunt Valley, Maryland speaks for all Hoyts.
bomber pilot wins award
Every newsletter a BookCrosser is awarded an item of their choice from the BookCrossing Store (http://cafepress.com/bookcrossing/). We try to select the member who did the most for the BookCrossing Movement since the previous newsletter. This newsletter's BookCrosser of Distinction award was a difficult choice, since so many have made contributions great and small to the movement. One in particular, a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force who flies B1-B bombers, went far beyond the call of duty (which I suppose comes naturally to one of America's heroes). He was instrumental in getting the Wichita Eagle newspaper to run a great BookCrossing story in a recent Sunday edition (which has directly resulted in over a hundred new members from south-central Kansas, and who knows how many more indirectly), and has even created a web page on his reading group site listing the active Kansas BookCrossers, which include his 12-yr-old son Jeff. So without further ado, the award goes to:
Col. Randy Roebuck from Derby, Kansas
Please help me thank Randy for his efforts in supporting the movement by sending him a nice message from his bookshelf page (more on that below). Way to go, Colonel!
private messages to members
Many of you have asked for this feature, and I'm happy to announce it is now live and working well: private, anonymous messaging to other BookCrossers. So, next time you want to contact a member on the website, all you need to do is go to their bookshelf page (like Randy's, above), and click on the "Send a private message to this BookCrosser" link at the top. An email will be sent to the member, and the member can reply to you the same way, from your bookshelf. Both parties remain anonymous; only the screen names are shown, not the email addresses. If you decide to share email addresses, that's your business. You should also note that if you do not wish to receive such messages from other members, you can set your preference accordingly on your Profile page, and the Send Message link will then not be displayed on your bookshelf.
how you can help the movement
These tips will always be included at the bottom of our newsletter, since members spreading the word to friends is the best way you can help the BookCrossing Movement flourish. If you have a tip to add to this list, please reply and I'll include it next issue.
- Use the Tell-A-Friend feature at the website:
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
Book magazine article (link on our site's Press page)
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 it. Stress
to them the nobility of our cause, the grass-roots growth
efforts, and the warm fuzzies it will give their audience.
- 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:
and put it on your site.
- When you talk to your friends who love books, be sure to
talk to them about BookCrossing. There is no influence more powerful
than personal word-of-mouth.
- Finally, the most obvious way to spread the word: release
your books into the wild, or share them with friends! Each one
is a little mobile billboard for BookCrossing, and will help
convince others to share in kind.
Thanks for reading this far, and until next time, Happy 'Crossing!
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