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July 28, 2005
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BookCrossing Postcards are Real Winners!

Little did we suspect when announcing the Postcard Contest, what a glorious group of entries would come our way! Paring them down has been tough, but we gave it a whirl. We are pleased to announce our Grand Prize winner is (drum roll, please...) SpedBug!

SpedBug, avid reader and BookCrossing member, lives in Wilmington, Delaware and turned in a winning 8 (yes, eight) fantastic cartoons, and then gave life to the concept of "The Karma of Literature" (submitted by bwatkins) for a ninth entry to make a unique package of cards. While SpedBug's primary focus is her family (husband, daughter, dog and cat), she uses her love of books and talent for drawing in a number of artistic outlets including calligraphy, creative writing, photography and lately, graphic arts. Enjoy the most recent expression of her myriad interests in these cool postcards she designed for BookCrossing.

Though we received quite a few other qualifying entries, we felt that we should maintain a pack of "like cards" for this first round given that SpedBug's ideas and execution were tough to deny. Check out these new cards in our Supply Store. From there is a link to a larger collage image if you want to see the postcards a little more closely (or you can "preserve the mystery" and pretend it's like opening a pack of bubble gum cards). We hope you'll find them as witty and clever as we did!

We also want to thank the following BookCrossers, who have received wings, for their art and/or ideas. We hope to feature some of these in the next batch of cards to be offered at some point in the future. Congratulations go to mhr, Akhena, gidienne, DocCrabtree,Badkins42, BOOKWORMINUSALL, and bwatkins.

Keesa, scaree and TexasWren received honorable mentions.

UK Geography ...Or how to upset your BC friends.

Editor's Note: We have asked Netstation to once again do the impossible, or at the very least, explain the unexplainable, and fill everyone in on what's happening with the site locations for the UK. Take it away, Sir Steve!

Some of the active UK BCers will have noticed changes in the UK Membership and Release location databases over the past 12 weeks. I know that many BCers have welcomed the changes but I’m also aware that it has caused extra work for some, and for that I’m sorry!

A quick recap may be in order to explain the reasoning behind the changes. The BC database design, having three fields to define a location, didn’t really cope very well with the unique geography of the UK where, as four individual countries comprise a union, another level was required. Over time this led to a number of problems including

  • Duplicate town or city names which occurred both from misspelling and the existence of multiple locations of the same name (Ashford, St. Ives, Newcastle et al)
  • ‘Time-out’ issues on member and release location searches as there were thousands of entries all under the single heading of England. (Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland not suffering this problem owing to the lower membership numbers)
  • The first two or three pages of the Go Hunting lists having no entries other than trains or buses.
  • With no 'drop-down' list of counties/regions available for new members the database would continue to be cluttered with various 'town,county' combinations, often using recognised but inconsistent abbreviations as Hampshire/Hants or Shropshire/Salop and all the varieties of the Unitary Authorities- West Midlands/West Mids/W. Mids- and so on.
  • The inability to easily determine ‘local’ BookCrossers when arranging meets, etc.

Several actions needed to be taken to try and improve matters and these have been undertaken in stages over the last few weeks. Firstly all of the member records were checked and corrected to remove inaccuracies and inconsistencies in town/city names. The spellings, hyphenations etc. were regularised using the Ordnance Survey Gazeteer of place names, and records kept of those members living in a town the name of which may appear more than once in the country. In addition, those UK members who had mistakenly placed themselves in Abu Dhabi or somewhere equally unlikely were brought home, and those in the UK database who really were from Alaska, Abruzzo. ... Yukon Territory were carefully repatriated. Almost nobody noticed this step, though it was announced in the Fora, and I still had my friends.

The next step was to introduce new ‘generic’ release locations for trains, buses, planes, ships etc. and subsequently, as the 30 day window on the Go Hunting pages expired, to remove the individual “11:15 to Balham” type entries. Almost nobody noticed: I still had my friends.

Alongside this step was the removal of expired release zones ‘Unconvention 2003’ or ‘Treasure Hunt 2004’ type locations. Nobody missed these, as they would never be used again: I still had my friends.

And then, the big one! The proposed reintroduction of a ‘County’ level within the databases. The details of the proposed change were posted in Activists with a cross post in Chit-Chat and, after some discussion but no dissent were put in train about seven weeks ago. Traditional or ceremonial county names were used, with the exception of the major metropolitan counties created in 1974 (Merseyside, West Midlands, Greater London & Greater Manchester) thus attempting to forestall any issues when a government, of any persuasion, indulges in gerrymandering in the future. (Remember Humberside, or Avon, or Kesteven?)

Each member record was examined, the correct county assigned, and the record updated, again nobody noticed, or if so, they didn’t bother to remark upon it. (Actually that’s not quite true. Dyfferent caught me before I’d finished moving all of the Reading residents back into Berkshire, but hey, there’s over 30,000 records in there and it takes time to update them ;o): I still had (most of) my friends.

Of course the newly introduced counties became available as release locations and as books were released they started filling up quite nicely on the Go Hunting pages. And then …as the county-based release numbers rose, the old England-based release numbers declined in like manner and as soon as they reached the lowest practical level I removed England as a release location, thus immediately removing all England-based zones from everyone’s drop-down lists. Everybody noticed! I lost all my friends!

That’s not quite true: quite a few members are glad to have old zones removed from their lists, particularly where their location list was full previously, and are happily creating fresh county-based locations for new releases, but I know that it has caused extra work for some, and for that I’m sorry. I’m hoping that everyone will see the rationale behind the revisions and will eventually recognise the benefits of the new structure. We now have a clean, functional database, consistent names, and easier and quicker searches for members and hunting. Personally I think that’s worth the effort of reinstating release locations using the new system, but if you disagree, then feel free to let me know the next time you meet me.

Editor's note again: Thank you Netstation, for all your hard work on this. The cheers of the Support Team were loud and mighty that you (rather than any one of them) were tackling this monumental task. Care to take on the rest of the world???

Brisbane BookCrosser Gives Book Talk

We hear from cackleberry that on July 21, Brisbane BookCrosser SandyMcCutcheon treated an audience of some 120 guests to a talk about his new book, The Magician's Son.

The author of seven other books, including children's stories and novels, McCutcheon's new book is a memoir of the discovery of his origins. Born in New Zealand, McCutcheon is better known as a broadcaster in Australia, currently having two Radio National programmes on ABC Radio ("Australia Talks Back" and "Australia Talks Books").

McCutcheon was adopted as a child, and he thought for many years that he was actually of Jewish origin. Then he was convinced that his real parents were Finnish, so he travelled to Finland in search of his roots and ended up teaching at the Finnish National Theatre Company.

An accomplished actor, writer, poet and broadcaster, Sandy McCutcheon's talk was very well received by all present. Among the audience was his daughter Yvonne, only recently reconciled with her father. Yvonne lives in Ireland, and how fitting that the talk was given at the "Irish Club" in Brisbane. More information on McCutcheon may be found at his website or in the Book Talk forum.

A Catch for Cody

In the category of Amazing Coincidence Catches, we offer this catch of Jerome Klapka Jerome's Three Men in a Boat to Say Nothing of the Dog. This past March, we ran an article about the Second Annual Cody's Release, in honor of Louis V. "Cody" Wims, written by his daughter fsr44. Now, a book that originated with MargeryK in the UK, sent as a RABCK to fsr44, and subsequently released in the wild by her as part of Cody's Release has been caught by a relative of another daughter of Cody, truthteller! The relationships are a bit squirrelly to follow, but you can read all about it in the journal note. Wow!

Mark Your Calendars for the New Zealand Convention in 2006

It's never too early to plan ahead, and those folks in New Zealand are doing just that! The 2006 Convention there will be Febraury 17-19. There are a couple different forum threads going here and here, so be sure to check them out. Each thread has a link to the website started for information about the 2006 New Zealand Convention as well.

For updates and info on other Conventions and Mega-Gatherings, check the Convention Info link, which we'll try to keep updated as the information comes to us!

In The News

Way back in April, we told you about Fox News in Chicago discovering BookCrossing and interviewing Ron. Looks like BookCrossing is in the Fox News sights again with a recent piece about BookCrossing, featuring Tzurriz & lucyinchicago. Click here for more info. We're hoping that clips of the spot will go up on the TV station's website so that we all can enjoy it!

Fresh Cup Magazine a e-zine for specialty coffee and tea professionals, features BookCrossing in their July issue. Ron and several BookCrossers who manage OBCZs are quoted, including bookczuk, RutledgeCoffee and MaryZee. Makes us want to curl up with a cuppa and a good book!

We got a mention in The TES, "The world's leading education newspaper@", as the answer to a reader's question, " Do you give books away or do you always keep them?". The correct answer? BookCrossing! Of Course! Click here for the full story.


Crossing London, two weeks on
by minx2012

I originally wrote this as my personal memorial to the London attacks, after passing the site of the bus bombing and the King's Cross Memorial Garden on the evening of Wednesday, 20 July. WistfulDragon, Rahar109 and I were on our way to SemioticGhost's photography exhibition, which had originally been scheduled to open the evening of 7 July and postponed because of the day's events....

[read it all at]

Certain places just aren't receptive to literaturizing...
by Keesa Renee DuPre (Keesa)

As much as we may like to think that all the world appreciates books, there are some places where it's just not a good idea to leave your books. Here are the top five. ...

[read it all at]

...or I'm getting to the point, don't rush me!
by whitequeen

I sent a note to a BookCrosser today that said, in apology, that I'm easily distracted. So true. In my own defence though, don't you all find that sometimes it's the distractions that are the most fun? It's that Robert Frost quote that I love so much-

[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 get the idea. Write it up, then submit it here:


Top 10 Countries All-Time
USA 178,122 (47%)
UNITED KINGDOM 31,219 (8%)
CANADA 27,914 (7%)
GERMANY 24,461 (6%)
SPAIN 18,103 (5%)
AUSTRALIA 17,353 (5%)
ITALY 13,127 (3%)
FRANCE 6,394 (2%)
PORTUGAL 5,412 (1%)
NETHERLANDS 5,063 (1%)

Top 10 Countries Last Week
USA 825 (39%)
GERMANY 141 (7%)
AUSTRALIA 135 (6%)
CANADA 124 (6%)
FRANCE 53 (3%)
ISRAEL 34 (2%)
INDIA 34 (2%)
SPAIN 33 (2%)


Wild books released by our members are being caught all over the world, every day! Our site watch forum is where members post news of great wild book catches. Here are some of the best from the last few days...

Journal entries like this make me sorry I didn't leave them a nicer book

The book was very old and the cover was cracked, though it was holding together well. Nice to know he's enjoying it.
by Secretariat

A book to "make their jaws drop".
A lovely catch. Not only is it off to Europe it has excited some travellers along the way:
by bluenoser

i saw this book crossing thing and was completly excited by it.

A really exciting little catch for Anna-81 who may have converted someone to Canadian literature.
by inkognitoh

Serendipity at work again.
by Mastulela

Two stars award for the enjoyment of 'slagging off' the book !!
by Mastulela

Say what??
I released it on a 4th of July fireworks cruise on a whale watch boat; someone found it in their bag on an airplane?

And loved it and joined! A very strange and wonderful journey.
by solittletime

I was introduced to this book in the Victoria and Albert museum

I absolutely love this wonderful catch of WistfulDragon's release.

"I work for the museum and spend most of my time directing the public to the toilets, so it's nice to get something back for a change."

by inkognitoh

Journal entry after a year
Yay, got a catch after just over a year, plus the book is going travelling!
by jenh

A catch from a tiny island
The Island of Rum, one of the Small Isles near Skye, only has a resident population of about 25- but gets about 10,000 visitors annually, one of whom caught this wild release:
by swan-scot

This AF should be applauded !!
by Mastulela

'The book was better because of the BookCrossing experience.'

A very nice way to put it!
by kiptrix

swampguy: "thoughtful way to utilize the internet"
as he was reading it, he kept thinking about how he came across the book. ..
by gnissorckoob

"Much to my surprise and delight..."
Nice catch for a newbie:
by GoryDetails

This finder made me laugh out loud!
I forgot to make release notes on this book, but someone with a very good sense of humor found it today in Penn Station.

by annulla

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