I'd be afraid that if we had such a category it would be misused, for books presumed lost but not actually known to have been destroyed. (Of course, if the books still existed, the next JE would undo any "defunct" category, so that might not be a serious drawback.)
Any category could be misused so that doesn't seem like a strong enough argument against my suggestion. Furthermore, as you mentioned, another JE would undo the mistaken entry.
If I know a book with a travel-history has been destroyed, I'll make a journal entry describing the situation and will set the status to "traveling" so the book no longer shows as "in hand".
Traveling and defunct are *completely* different. A traveling book is one that might show up again in the future. A defunct book is gone forever. A defunct status is a much more accurate description of a particular book's journey.
If it's a book of my own that has not had any other travel history, I can try and replace the book and re-use the BCID.
True. However, that's not necessary. It would be much more useful to know about an individual book's demise. It would also be much more accurate to say that one book was destroyed, and another book (with a different BCID) was released to take that book's place (sort of in memory of the defunct book!).
In fact, it would be fun to refer back to the defunct book's travel history without making both books the same BCID...which is contrary to the rules of BookCrossing anyway (in the strictest sense).
I'm not sure what advantage there would be in knowing that a BCID is no longer active
It is a more accurate picture of our traveling books. In the same way, that when a person dies, we know that person will no longer show up. In fact, I want Dunzy and MaryZee back now! RIP, my two dear friends. :(
Is there some particular bookshelf-view or book-search that you'd find enhanced by such a feature?
I think so. I handle lots of books because I'm both an avid Bookcrosser and a Little Free Library steward. I do occasionally have to "pulp" books that have a BCID. I'd like to be able to pull up only defunct books to see exactly what happened to each book to make it drop out of circulation. I'm not going to go through all of my 7,400 traveling books to do this, though. Seriously!
In addition, it could show me which books I should try to replace (if I can find them) with other copies that are in good shape to travel.
I can think of another use for this feature. Sometime we witness others destroying a book. If we know the details of such incidents by reading the histories of our defunct books, it would help book releasers know the "danger areas" of book releasing and could possibly help reduce future book destruction by others. It could also teach other BookCrossers how to better preserve traveling books (e.g. a journal note saying that a book might have been preserved had the previous owner secured the pages to the cover better, etc.). I think we'd get some really good information from a defunct category.
Sometimes it's good to not just maintain the status quo, but to try other new things. Should this feature not prove useful, all of the defunct books could revert back to their traveling status...although that would make me sad. :)
By the way, I've set my defunct books to "reserved" *precisely* because I don't want them listed as "traveling" on my account.
What do others think of my idea?