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August 20, 2003
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In this issue...

sunday sunset mission one in the bag

Last Wednesday I had this crazy idea to start sending BookCrossers on secret book-release missions every Sunday evening at sunset. The first mission, forever to be known as SSM1, generated covert, coordinated actions in front of newspaper offices all over the world. If you weren't able to participate three nights ago, here's a sampling of what you missed:

Giraffe Koontz rides giraffe in Stamford, CT, but Advocate doesn't catch (yet). See journal entry at

Spain Spanish catch inspires budding journalist, and deserves an English translation here (thanks Atenea-Nike!):

"I am in awe. Finding a book by Larra, precisely the day I had decided that one has to let magic things happen and not force them. Precisely in a time in which I didn't find a book to turn me back into reading. Precisely a book by the modern father of journalism, for a becario [a fellow doing underpayed practices in an office or enterprise] who has just started. It can't be more magical."

See journal entry at

Finland Roseanna hangs from tree in Finland, after new BookCrosser Annelis rides bike for hour to complete mission. See journal entry at

Canberra Ecstatic polar bears released in Canberra, Australia by SkyRing:

"I'd cased the joint on Friday, marked my tree and measured my string. A few test runs under the desert ash in the backyard to perfect the swing and I was confident of getting it over the branch I'd selected."

Read his entire account at

And finally, I've already been contacted by a newspaper as a direct result of SSM1: "My name is Tina Depko and I am a reporter with the Daily Gleaner in Fredericton, N.B. Some books that are part of the BookCrossing program showed up outside our new office, and we would like to do a story."

So it appears this SSM thing is a hit. You can read all 17 pages of forum posts about the first one at If you enjoyed the first one, or it sounds like something you'd like to try, you'll want to keep reading, because down at the bottom of this newsletter you'll find your assignment for SSM2. And don't worry if you miss out this week - I plan to announce a new SSM each week, on or about Wednesday afternoon.

half a million books registered

Since last week, BookCrossing has crossed two major milestones: 150,000 members worldwide, and 500,000 books registered! ("Half a million books" has such a nice ring to it, don't you agree?) Thank you all for helping to spread the word(s) - BookCrossing is a success because of people just like you. If you know the email addresses of friends you haven't told yet, take a moment and use our Tell-A-Friend form at

The more BookCrossers, the better!

tell oprah about bookcrossing the easy way

Speaking of more BookCrossers, there's one person in the world who probably influences more readers than any other, and you all know her name: Oprah. Well, she's back into the book club groove, this time with classic titles, and I think the time is ripe to remind her what a great feature BookCrossing would make on her show. Here's a web page where you can quickly email the show's producers with program ideas:

Make your recommendation brief, but heartfelt. Tell them what BookCrossing means to you, and why you think it's improving not only your community, but the whole world. Try also to include the URL to our Press page ( for more information. Thanks for taking a couple of minutes right now to do this.

bookcrossing site to be down late friday night

Just a heads-up that this Friday night, starting at around midnight Central US time, the website will be down for a few hours while we physically move our servers across town to a new hosting facility. Barring unforeseen complications, the site should be up and happy by early Saturday morning. I, however, will be down and snoring by early Saturday morning.

forgotten lore bookplates still available

Our latest bookplate labels, featuring original art by Tess Garman, are still in stock, but selling fast. If you like Forgotten Lore:

Forgotten Lore

this may be your last week to get them, so get over to our Supply Store and buy either a pack of the new bookplate labels or a Release Kit that includes bookmarks and sticky-notes along with the bookplate labels.

What the new bookplates look like:

Supply Store:

More info on Tess:

Are you an artist? If you'd like your art to be featured on a future Bookplate series, and you haven't contacted us yet, please send an email to along with links to your work. In exchange for the considerable exposure you'll get here, and in the future on those 50,000 traveling books, we ask for only the original artwork, which we'll auction to further help support BookCrossing.

lift spirits with SSM2

This week's Sunday Sunset Mission was inspired by a phone call I received last night from my parents. One of those phone calls nobody wants. I learned that my father, who's never been really sick even a day in his 75-year life, will be going to the hospital on Friday for some tests, and it's got me and my family nervous and concerned. I already know exactly what that gut-wrenching waiting, in the aptly-named waiting room, will feel like, as I'm sure most of you do, too.

So, in an effort to lift a few heavy spirits the world over, including mine, I give you SSM2:

  • RELEASE ZONE: The waiting room or visitor's lounge in any hospital near you, ideally outside an emergency or surgery facility. (Take pictures only outside the building, not inside - our goal here is to reduce the stress of those inside, not bother them.)
  • RELEASE METHOD: A well-labeled book, preferably one celebrating and uplifting the human condition, left on a table or chair.
  • RELEASE TIME: This Sunday, August 24th, at Sunset wherever you live.

The 10 Rules of Sunday Sunset Missions:

  1. Don't talk about SSMs!
  2. Don't talk about SSMs! (for Project Mayhem fans)
  3. Be on time! You can get the exact sunset time from
  4. Label the books properly. At the minimum, this means a sticky-note on the outside making it clear that the book is FREE and NOT LOST (don't write anything on the outside to cause others alarm!), and a good, descriptive label inside the cover explaining BookCrossing and including the BCID for the book.
  5. If possible, choose a book with content appropriate to the release location.
  6. If possible, print out one of the press articles from and include it with the book (the Utne Reader or Reader's Digest articles work well).
  7. Take pictures! Those of you with digital cameras, try to take a picture of the release zone with books, upload it with your journal entry, and make a post with the journal entry link in the new SSMs forum at
  8. Be safe! Use your common sense, and don't do anything to endanger persons or property.
  9. Pay attention to the media the following day or two, try to note any mention of the SSM, and post such mentions to the SSM forum.
  10. And finally, have fun!

As always, Happy 'Crossing!

Ron Hornbaker
Founder and Editor,

ps. In many ways, I consider you BookCrossers the world over as my extended family. So if you could this Friday, around noon or so central US time, think a good thought for my dad.

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