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April 30, 2004
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What a busy three weeks it's been since the last newsletter. The 2004 BookCrossing Convention in St. Louis was a blast — a big thank you to the members who made that happen! You can read all about it in our Forums under the Conventions and Meetings topic. (And thanks to those of you responsible for sending me the skillet — that was such a nice surprise. I'll display it with pride on my bookshelf forever.)

We've been fortunate to get a lot of press lately. Here are links to the articles I know about...

The Delphos Herald, April 22, 2004
Web surfers can “cache in” at a variety of bountiful sites, by Becky Hirn

The Community Press Online, April 21, 2004
Country Sunshine: Littering for literacy, by Terry Vollum

The St. Louis (Missouri) Post-Dispatch, April 16, 2004
Web site asks readers to "release" their books, by Greg Jonnson

The London (Ontario) Free Press, April 5, 2004
Books Set Free to Wander, by Peter Geigen-Miller

Sunday Life magazine in the Australian Sun-Herald paper, April 24, 2004 (sorry, no link)
Have you seen this book? With more than a million volumes, BookCrossing is one of the biggest bookclubs in the world - and it's coming to a cafe, park bench or bus stop near you.
(This article was responsible for the large number of new Australian members, as shown below.)

and here's something unusual — an article that is critical of us...

Creative Loafing (Atlanta, GA), April 29, 2004
All the world's a library - BookCrossing wants to spread the joy of books, but where and what kind of books is the question, by Jenny Jarvie

If you'd like to contact the Creative Loafing editor regarding that last one, send email to There's quite a lively discussion about the article going on in our forums at


I'm very happy to announce that we've hired the first full-time programmer for BookCrossing, Dan Clune. Dan is originally from New York City, but moved to Sandpoint, Idaho recently, so he's nice and close to our office there. I've been doing some pretty intensive training with Dan over the last two weeks, and you'll be pleased to know that he's already completed work on several new features for the website that will go live in the next few days. He's also helping me answer support email, so you should experience fewer delays in getting answers to your questions.

Dan and I have big plans for new features to roll out over the next few months, not the least of which will be the multi-lingual interface for our non-English-speaking members. Work on that is moving along nicely, and we'll be soliciting volunteers for Language Editors in an upcoming newsletter when the editing features are in place. Another priority is adding yet more servers and capacity, since the site's traffic continues to grow at an ever-increasing pace.


As you know, the future of BookCrossing depends on generous members like you who choose to support us in creative ways. BookCrossing has a new partner, Telphonic, who will generously donate 10% of your long-distance bill to BookCrossing!

Telphonic Long Distance Service

I can tell you from personal experience that you'll be very happy with the Telphonic long-distance service. I've been using it at my residence since February of 2004, and our long-distance bill has gone WAY down - with perfect sound quality and rock-solid service. My wife calls Japan a few times every week to talk with her family, and we're now paying half what we used to pay for those calls. Switching over was painless, too. Seriously, this is the easiest way for you to support BookCrossing without even thinking about it - and you'll save money on your phone bill, too!

As a token of our appreciation for your support, you'll get BookCrossing Wings for as long as you continue the service. Simply enter your BookCrossing Screen Name during the sign-up process, and your Wings will appear within a few days on the BookCrossing website.


For our international members, stay tuned, because the folks at Telphonic have some other services that you'll be able to use, too. I'll be announcing them in future newsletters.


The Book that Kept Coming Back
by Terry Bain (YAaD)

My first attempt at setting a book free into the wild was an almost utter failure. I tried my best, I really did. The book was Consider This, Señora, by Harriett Doerr. It’s a good, honest, lovely book....

[read it all at]

Tips on how to plan and prepare a mass book release
by Holly (kz4ufo)

Releasing one or two books in the wild on the same day is always exciting, but releasing dozens or even hundreds of books can be thrilling! It may sound like a lot of work (and, yes, it is!), yet with proper planning and preparation it can be one of the most memorable BookCrossing experiences you will ever have....

[read it all at]

Sharing the joys of literacy
by John Gallaher (BigJohnLefty)

I’ve always loved reading. From the time I was a small child, I’ve often had my “nose in a book”. But not everybody is that way. Some folks just don’t seem to care for it, either because they’ve never really cultivated it, or have never done it very well. And then there are a shocking number who, even in this day and age, have never learned how....

[read it all at]

A walk by the water and an exercise in letting go
by sarieau

On a recent holiday at Goolwa, on the coast of South Australia, I took the opportunity to release a few books at the park across the road from my rental accommodation, not expecting that I would shadow a caught book along a coastal road at dusk....

[read it all at]

How the World's Largest Free Book Club Helps Authors
by Andreya Stuart (andreyastuart)

As authors and publishers will tell you, the world of books is changing radically. When Stephen King first started writing, the method most writers had for reaching new readers was the magazine. Amazing Stories and Analog launched a thousand careers. Editors would read these magazines searching for new talent and would read submissions from those authors when they arrived via the mail....

[read it all at]

A bibliophile ends her addiction... or does she?
by ducdesesseintes

Darling, I am writing to tell you that it must end. This relationship is unhealthy. It has cost me too much. Because of you, I neglect family and friends. I cannot hear; I cannot speak. I forget to eat, or I am unable to digest food because I have inhaled it, tasteless and half-chewed, unable to take my eyes off you. I stay awake at night and run late in the mornings. I live only to see you. ...

[read it all at]

Or, how to find the joy in simply giving
by DangerGirl

Have you ever found yourself in a position to be truly generous? Whether it be with your time, money or ideas? This concept comes very easily for some people, but requires quite a bit of humility, patience, life experience, joy and love. If there is one thing this old world of ours needs is more people who can be kind for the simple sake of kindness! I think one of the best things you can do with your life is make it better for those around you. Stop for a moment and think about the last time you simply said Hello to a stranger or smiled at the person next to you on the bus. Just for a second didn't it feel like a small weight had been lifted? That's part of what BookCrossing does for 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:


Top 10 All-Time
USA 126,160 (51%)
CANADA 18,931 (8%)
UNITED KINGDOM 16,065 (7%)
GERMANY 13,979 (6%)
SPAIN 11,749 (5%)
ITALY 10,775 (4%)
AUSTRALIA 8,705 (4%)
PORTUGAL 3,094 (1%)
FRANCE 2,942 (1%)
NETHERLANDS 2,731 (1%)

Top 10 Last Week
USA 1,056 (29%)
AUSTRALIA 836 (23%)
SPAIN 444 (12%)
GERMANY 319 (9%)
CANADA 238 (6%)
PORTUGAL 39 (1%)
ITALY 39 (1%)
FRANCE 38 (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 Supply Store...

The New 9th-Edition Bookplates!

Alli on the Beach

These labels feature Alli on the Beach by Patrick Yesh. You may recall BookCrosser Allistar from the UK who lost her fight to cancer in March of 2003 at a very young age. The artwork for this bookmark was commissioned by her mother, who continues to release books in Alli's name. You can help keep Alli's legacy alive by purchasing these new bookplate labels, which are available either a-la-carte or bundled with bookmarks and sticky-notes in our popular Release Kits.

We still have the 8th-edition Turtle Woman bookplates available, and if you missed out on the 7th-edition Reading Dr. Seuss bookplates, we just discovered some un-sold stock in our inventory and have made them available, too. All our available bookplates can be found here:

We also have some leftover 2004 Convention Edition t-shirts for sale - 50 of them, 30 XL and 20 L (men's sizes) to be exact. Get them while they last at:

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 April 7, our champion new member referrer was freelancebyu from Virginia, who has referred 389 new members all-time and 82 in the last 3 weeks.

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


I'm saddened to report that long-time BookCrosser Richard Loeffler (screen name rloeffle) of La Ronge, Saskatchewan died suddenly on April 17th, 2004. Richard currently has the most books registered on BookCrossing (7,551) and was responsible for distributing most of them around small communities in the north of his Canadian province. He was employed by the library system in La Ronge, and used his library contacts to spread the BookCrossing word widely across isolated Northern communities.

Richard was passionate about committing 'random acts of literacy' anonymously. He was featured in a great USA Weekend story on BookCrossing (
), and did that and much more to help promote our cause. His family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made in his name to the La Ronge Public Library Building Fund, c/o First Call Funeral Services, 708 La Ronge Ave., La Ronge, SK., Canada S0J 1L0.

Please help me commemorate this man's life and BookCrossing legacy with SSM24...

Your SSM24 Assignment:

  • RELEASE ZONE: A small community near you that is underserved by libraries or bookstores.
  • RELEASE METHOD: Print out a copy of the USA Weekend feature and include it inside your book(s).
  • RELEASE TIME: This Sunday, May 2, 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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Supply Store
bc supply store Shop online at our secure Supply Store to buy Bookplate Labels, Bookmarks, Sticky-notes, Release Kits, Stampers, T-Shirts and more! Every purchase or donation made there directly supports the BookCrossing website, and will earn your Wings.

bookcrossing meetups
Did you know BookCrossers are meeting-up together in cities all over the world, the second Tuesday of each month? Go to and find out where your meeting will be!