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February 19, 2004
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------------------------------------------------------------------- FIRST BOOKCROSSING CONVENTION THIS APRIL

I once heard about a traveling salesman who was kept awake in his hotel room by a loud ruckus across the hall. He called down to the front desk to complain, and was told, "I'm sorry sir, but they're holding an Elks convention."

"Look," he replied angrily, "I don't care if they've got him by the antlers! I need my sleep!"

Well, the first annual BookCrossing Convention will be held April 16-18, 2004, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, so we'll have our own chance to make some noise. As many of you know, April 17th is the anniversary of the launch of our website, making it an ideal date to get together and celebrate. This is the first year that a convention has been organized, and it's happening grassroots-style in our discussion forums by members just like you! To learn more, help with the planning, or find a hotel room, join in this discussion thread:

I'll be there, and I hope to see a great many of you, too!

------------------------------------------------------------------- SEVEN NEW BOOKCROSSING ARTICLES

A lifetime of books
by Rose McGlew (Rbnsvlreader)

I have always had a love affair with books and recently I started working in what might be the closest thing to paradise here on Earth. I am now officially a part-time library assistant for the Mercer County Library, Washington Branch! I have made the frequent joke that it’s a good thing I decided to work in the library rather than a bakery, just going on the amount of stuff I take home from work. I’d be as big as a house in no time! In addition to the library, I’ve found a wonderful web site to share with you, but only after I tell you the circuitous route of how I came to appreciate the non-ownership of books....

[read it all at]


Is one dog ear worth seven bookmarks?
by Cornelia Amiri (cornelia)

Are you a bookmark or a dog-ears person? Do you retain the page number in your head? Maybe you are a page open face down person? ...

[read it all at]


Witness to a book's commute
by Claire Petersky (Cpetersky)

I knew that one of the first things I'd do in New York is release a book. I took the bus from JFK out to the subway station, and got on the A train. It's a long ride to Manhattan from there. I put the book out on the seat that was at a right angle from me. I hoped the title, "Lucky You", would draw someone in....

[read it all at]


Edmonton Phone Booth source of mystery release inspiration
by kittysutherland

"Paradise Lost" Found in Edmonton Phone Booth -- that was the headline in the National Post that drew me to BookCrossing on January 4, 2003. What reader could resist? I joined BC and released my first four books on Jan. 14. On Jan. 17, my copy of Agatha Christie's "Endless Night" was caught and journalled by Edmonton BCer, kangaroozle. What great encouragement!...

[read it all at]


From a homesick restaurant to Athenian Murders
by yvonnep

In May of 2003 I became a BookCrosser. Reluctantly, at first... I thought it was a time-consuming constant worry about your books. You had to register them, write something about them, make stickers, leave them in parks, hospitals or trains, etc. But in a few weeks I went wild....

[read it all at]


An unexpected benefit of BookCrossing
by ResQgeek

When I joined BookCrossing, I expected to share the books I love with others. What I didn't expect was that I would find my reading horizons greatly expanded by my participation. But that is exactly what has happened. When I look at my bookshelf now, I find a number of terrific books that I would never have read without BookCrossing. How did this happen?...

[read it all at]


or how I stopped hoarding and learned to love BookCrossing
by Carol Elaine Cyr (ordgddss)

I am a collector. I don’t collect rare chess pieces made from the horns of virgin rhinoceri. Nor do I collect Star Wars memorabilia (though I must confess several Star Trek pieces have found their ways into my home - gifts from friends, family and co-workers – well, most of them). No, I’m a different kind of collector. I collect books....

[read it all at]

------------------------------------------------------------------- Want to write for BookCrossing? If your article is accepted, you could see it featured here in the next newsletter. What topics do we need? Anything about books, reading, or BookCrossing -- tutorials, release and catch stories, well-traveled book stories, funny BookCrossing experience stories -- you name it. Write it up, then submit it here:

------------------------------------------------------------------- GLOBAL MEMBERSHIP STATS

Top 10 All-Time
USA 111,575 (52%)
CANADA 15,852 (7%)
UNITED KINGDOM 14,060 (7%)
GERMANY 11,677 (5%)
ITALY 10,309 (5%)
SPAIN 9,717 (5%)
AUSTRALIA 6,643 (3%)
PORTUGAL 2,750 (1%)
FRANCE 2,541 (1%)
NETHERLANDS 2,487 (1%)

Top 10 Last Week
USA 1,142 (50%)
GERMANY 205 (9%)
CANADA 142 (6%)
SPAIN 105 (5%)
ITALY 54 (2%)
FRANCE 49 (2%)
FINLAND 38 (2%)
PORTUGAL 31 (1%)

------------------------------------------------------------------- LAPEL PINS ARE BACK, LAST CHANCE FOR POULTRY BOOKPLATES

How does BookCrossing make money to survive and grow? Not with membership fees - BookCrossing is free for everyone. Instead, most of our expenses are covered by Supply Store sales to generous members like you. Here's what's happening over at our secure online Store...

Lapel Pins Lapel Pins are back!
We used to carry these at our CafePress store, but their handling charge made them rather pricey. Now they're back in-house, at a new lower price, so please show your support by buying and wearing one.

Baby-T for the ladies T-Shirts are restocked
We recently sold out of several popular colors and sizes recently, but we've re-stocked the shelves - find your size now!

Poultry in Motion
Last chance for Poultry in Motion labels!

We're down to very low numbers of these, so this week is definitely the last chance to get these remaining 5th-edition labels. They're also in our Special Assortment Release Kit (enough for 75 books plus a Stamper), so last chance on that kit, too.

Are you an artist? If you'd like your art to be featured on a future Bookplate series, please contact us at 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.

------------------------------------------------------------------- CHAMPION REFERRER SINCE LAST NEWSLETTER

Since the last newsletter on February 12, our champion new member referrer was joannamary from Gaithersburg, Maryland. A member since only last month, joannamary has referred 8 new members, all in the last week. You can visit joannamary's bookshelf here:

As a token of appreciation for helping us grow, we'll be sending joannamary a $50 gift certificate from our BookCrossing Supply Store. Want to win the $50 prize next newsletter? Get busy referring people! The best tactic: release lots of books so new members will find them and join. The next-best tactic: use our Tell-a-Friend form to quickly send an email invitation to everyone you know:

------------------------------------------------------------------- RELEASE WHAT YOU READ, BUT KEEP WHAT YOU NEED

A company named BoomerangIt is helping BookCrossing grow by telling their customers about us. In exchange, we'd like to tell you about their very slick service: they help you keep track of your really important stuff -- it's the Ultimate Lost & Found Return System. BoomerangIt works with the National Crime Prevention Council (McGruff® the Crime Dog and Take A Bite Out Of Crime®) and thousands of police departments nationwide, plus airlines, hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues and other organizations to return lost and stolen items to their rightful owners. The special offer below is only for BookCrossers like you!


For less than $1 per year you can protect everything from laptops, cell phones, PDAs and cameras to luggage, keys, and sports equipment! If they get lost or stolen anywhere in the world, BoomerangIt can help you get them back. Just apply BoomerangIt serialized, tamper-resistant labels and tags to your belongings and register them in their secure database.

20% OFF BoomerangIt Lost & Found Service!
Use discount code* MYBOOK when you shop online at

* Discount code valid until 12/31/2004

------------------------------------------------------------------- SSM17 - IS YOUR STARBUCKS BC-FRIENDLY OR NOT?

Last week's SSM16 (Valentine's Day release) has already resulted in at least one wild catch! GoryDetails released Quirky Alone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics in a Boston lounge, where it was caught by Chani1896, an employee there, who made this great journal entry:

"Well I caught this book right in the doorway of the Paradise - and I work there so it makes sense! But I was so happy to have actually found a BookCrossing book! I signed up for this site a while ago but haven't had any books to release yet - and have had no luck finding any in the couple of places I briefly checked out (South Station, Park Street, etc.) So finally finding one was a real treat and I can see why people get so excited about releasing and then finding - it's like a jolt of recognition, and an understated empathy with a person you'll probably never meet, yet feel a connection with..."
Read the entire journal log here:

and all the SSM16 stories here:

I'll warn you right now that I've got ulterior motives for this week's SSM17. You see, we've been trying to figure out Starbucks' official position on BookCrossing for a long time now, and so far have not reached a conclusion. On the one hand, some of their locations are very BookCrossing friendly, and at least one district manager has handed out a "Bravo" award to a Starbucks employee who initiated an Official Crossing Zone in his shop (details in a previous newsletter). On the other hand, BookCrosser Karats told me just a few days ago that she spoke on the telephone with a Mr. Mine Le in their Customer Relations office in Seattle, and was told that it is their "Corporate Policy" (his exact words) that as soon as a Starbucks employee sees anything "promotional" it must be put in a lost and found that is out of sight of customers, and after six months it is thrown away, and that BookCrossing books would quality as "promotional" items. For myself, I cannot get my contacts there to answer on this matter.

Now I know that many, many BookCrossing releases and catches have been made in Starbucks locations around the world, so if there is some "Corporate Policy" about this, most managers do not follow it. I'd like to get a better idea of how many Starbucks are BookCrossing-friendly, so what I'd like you to do this Sunday at Sunset is to go release a book in a Starbucks near you, after having a brief chat with the manager to make sure it's okay, then report back in our SSM forum at to let us know what you discovered. The information will help us approach Starbucks and try to persuade them to be a little more open-minded to the BookCrossing matter, since getting them to proclaim that all of their stores are BookCrossing-friendly would help us create a network of "safe" crossing zones around the world in short order.

With no further ranting, I give you SSM17:

  • RELEASE ZONE: A Starbucks coffee shop near you.
  • RELEASE METHOD: Talk to the manager first to make sure it's okay to release there. Report your findings in our SSM forum.
  • RELEASE TIME: This Sunday, February 22, 2004, at sunset wherever you live. You might meet other BookCrossers there!

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 SSM 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,

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