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April 7, 2004
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Excuse me while I take a BIG breath and say that the last couple of weeks have been exhausting. Traffic on the site was up significantly, and we have been dealing with load-related server issues on a regular basis. I know many of you have seen some irregularities with the book status features, and slower than normal page loads, and this is a symptom of the highest traffic periods. We're continuing to work behind the scenes to minimize the frequency of these episodes, and I thank you for your patience as we try to solve the problems.

PC Magazine's Top 100 Websites of 2004One reason for the high traffic has been some great press. We're featured in PC Magazine's cover story as one of their Top 100 Best Undiscovered Web Sites for 2004 (April issue), an unexpected yet appreciated honor. If you see it on a newsstand, buy a copy to show your appreciation for their coverage of us. BookCrossing was also featured in the London (Ontario) Free Press, the Columbia Missourian, and the New Orleans Time-Picayune.


The 2004 BookCrossing Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, is fast approaching on April 16-18. I'll be there, speaking on Saturday morning, and following me will be author Rich Shapero. I hope to see a great many of you there — it's going to be great fun putting faces to screen names!

I've posted the updated Convention Agenda, along with the registration form, here:

There's still time to register - do it today!


What is there to do at
by Vysion

You signed up for Bookcrossing and don't know what to do next; not a clue, huh? No worries, mate. The Bookcrossing website has so many features that a newcomer, or "newbie," may never realize how much fun this can be. Let's ride around the website as I introduce you to the "Features of Bookcrossing" -- all aboard!...

[read it all at]

The Saga Continues
by bookczuk

"C'mon, ladies! Give me eight more!"

I swing my legs back and forth like I am on a cross country ski machine and pull with my arms. The motion propels me through the water. Six other women are doing the same motion I am, our faces in fierce concentration, our tummies taut and our posture strong. ...

[read it all at]


Tournee durch Deutschland im Namen der Lesefreude
by trygvasson

Das große Thema ist: Alphabetisierung – es geht nicht um Analphabeten, sondern um Menschen, die zwar lesen können, diese schöne Fähigkeit aber weitestgehend vor der Welt geheim halten und nicht mehr anwenden können....

[read it all at]

Peter prepares for the third birthday
by Skyring

I’ve just returned from participating in SSM22, a repeat of the very first mission seven months ago, and I feel that I must pause as I recycle some books on this recycled mission to reflect on how much of a bite Bookcrossing has taken from my life, and how much I enjoy it....

[read it all at]

How I came around to BookCrossing
by John K. Gallaher (BigJohnLefty)

With more than a quarter of a million BookCrossers, there are probably close to that many stories behind how they got here; I'm not talking about the news article of radio piece that ultimately led them to the site, but rather the paths they traveled to get to a place where they'd be open to getting involved with this type of endeavor....

[read it all at]

The Threefold Law
by AnOtterChaos

Random acts of literature. I'm the kind of person who will leave her change in the snack machine, trusting the Universe to ensure that someone who needs it will find it. And I love to read. So naturally, BookCrossing appealed to me. What I didn't expect was the amazing gifts that BookCrossing has given me....

[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:


By now, I'm sure that most of you are aware that we've been doing a special free book promotion, giving away an advance reader copy of Wild Animus by Rich Shapero to anyone who requests it. Several thousand copies have shipped already, and the printers and shippers are hard at work to fulfill the remaining volume of requests — over 19,000 so far!

Rich Shapero So what kind of author takes a leap of faith like this and lets his publisher give away thousands of copies of his new book? We've all heard of writers who say "well, I just want to be read." Rich Shapero, pictured here, hasn't said that — not that I've heard, anyway — but his actions speak volumes towards his intent, towards his character. I'd like you to get to know this enigma of a man better, so we've published a recent interview with him in which he discusses some of his motivations and influences that led to Wild Animus. I hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I did:

Wild Animus Interview with Rich Shapero:

Wild Animus will, if nothing else, challenge you to think. Are you up for that? If so, please get your request for your free copy in soon:


We've set up a special discussion forum for Wild Animus:

I'll soon be posting some discussion questions there to get you started. And if we're lucky, Mr. Shapero might drop in from time to time to answer some questions directly.


Top 10 All-Time
USA 122,017 (52%)
CANADA 17,982 (8%)
UNITED KINGDOM 15,357 (7%)
GERMANY 13,035 (6%)
SPAIN 10,669 (5%)
ITALY 10,621 (5%)
AUSTRALIA 7,600 (3%)
PORTUGAL 2,916 (1%)
FRANCE 2,824 (1%)
NETHERLANDS 2,642 (1%)

Top 10 Last Week
USA 1,253 (47%)
GERMANY 269 (10%)
CANADA 239 (9%)
AUSTRALIA 168 (6%)
SPAIN 122 (5%)
ITALY 46 (2%)
PORTUGAL 32 (1%)
FRANCE 30 (1%)


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...

The New 8th-Edition Bookplates!

Turtle Woman Interrupted

These labels feature Turtle Woman Interrupted by Jennifer Long de Herrera. Without a doubt, this is my favorite bookplate art to date. Something about Turtle Woman's eyes just do it for me. You might also notice that we've added a "Catch Bounty" reward on the labels — a $100 book shopping spree — to help increase your wild catch rates when you use our bookplate labels. We will be awarding this prize to one lucky wild book catcher every month, drawn at random from the pool of qualified entries, starting in April.

The new bookplates are available either a-la-carte or bundled with bookmarks and sticky-notes in our popular Release Kits.

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.


Since the last newsletter on March 25, our champion new member referrer was arlana2 from Germany. A member since only March 12, arlana2 has referred 33 new members in the last 13 days.

As a token of appreciation for helping us grow, we'll be sending arlana2 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:


Last week's SSM22 (Newspaper Office Release) resulted in many great releases and catches, including this release (by k-j-h, complete with picture) and catch (by slatts, a newspaper editor and brand-new BookCrosser) in Geelong, Australia:

And now for SSM23...

Your SSM23 Assignment:

  • RELEASE ZONE: A supermarket (grocery store) near you.
  • RELEASE METHOD: A themed release would be fun here. For example, release a diet book in the ice cream freezer. Or a vegetarian book amongst the tofu. You get the idea; just make sure the book is well-labeled so shoppers know it's free. Pictures would be a big plus!
  • RELEASE TIME: This Sunday, April 11, 2004.

The 10 Rules of Sunday Sunset Missions:

  1. Don't talk about SSMs!
  2. Don't talk about SSMs! (you need to read or see Fight Club for that to make sense)
  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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