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What Do You Get...

When You Combine 4 Avid BookCrossers, 700 Books, and a Book Fair?
by maryzee
December 4, 2007
Lots of fun!

On Saturday, November 10, 2007, the 11th Annual Carroll County Book Fair was held at Carroll Community College in Westminster, Maryland.

This is the 4th year I’ve had a BC table at the book fair. In the past, it has been mostly just myself promoting BookCrossing and giving away lots of free books. The first year I had a BC table, 2004, I gave away 120 books. In 2005, 150 books were given away, and last year, in 2006, I gave away about 225 books. So each year the give-away has grown. Over the last several years, I’ve had some local publicity about BookCrossing too, and that’s resulted in a noticeable change in peoples’ reactions at the BC table. The first few years, it was, “Book what?”, “who Crossing?”, and “They’re free?” But last year, about 2/3 of the people I talked to either said they’d heard of BookCrossing, or when I’d start explaining it they’d respond with “Oh, that’s where you leave books around for people to find.” So I could see that more people were finally aware of what BookCrossing was about.

This year, I started planning for the book fair, as always, in July and August, by sending in my donation for an exhibitor’s table, and posting in the Wish List forum to request donations from anyone who had extra books they’d like to contribute. Donations flooded in over the next 2 months from all over the U.S. and Canada. Packages ranged in size from 1 or 2 books, to a huge box from tiatia in Virginia with over 50 books in it!

I stocked up at the Supply Store on BC bookmarks to give away, and printed off copies of a BC flier to give to anyone who’d like more info. I also printed out a few statistics about the site, and some sample journals of books that have traveled, so I would have a nice BC display.

Back in August, crrcookie had PM’d me with an idea to come help at the book fair. And then SqueakyChu and ResQgeek decided to come as well. (They all live almost 2 hours away.) This was quickly turning into a regular BC meet, which made me even more excited about the event.

I got a bunch of balloons for the table, so folks could find me, and the morning of the festival loaded my car with 10 shopping bags full of about 350 books. I had already labeled, stickered, stamped, and released all these books. Unloaded everything at the book fair and set up the books and display on the table, and I was ready to go. About 10:00, crrcookie came along, pulling her MBCZ behind her. She’d brought nearly 300 more books with her! A little while later, ResQgeek and SqueakyChu arrived with several more bags of books. Everyone settled in to talk to lots of visitors to the book fair, chat BC, and give away bunches of books.

Later in the day, we were replenishing the stock on the table as fast as the books left. We had lots of bags and boxes to pick from. Crrcookie decided the books weren’t disappearing fast enough, and decided to go on a bookabout. She and SqueakyChu took armfuls of books, walked around the Great Hall of the college, and left books in their wake. No bench or cubbyhole was safe! Crrrcookie laughed when she realized that she’d put a book down, make a circle around, come back by the same spot a few minutes later, and mysteriously, the book was gone! SqueakyChu was afraid they were being trashed since they were disappearing so fast, so they stopped to observe a few folks. Sure enough, happy people were walking away with all the books! Later, when they put books on the benches out front, they saw people walking by, pick up one book to look at, put it down since it didn’t interest them, then be attracted by another book, and wander over to another bench to check out it out! They had a blast doing these “wild releases” at the book fair, and made several trips around the Great Hall and environs of the college, sprinkling books behind them.

Late in the afternoon, we had less than a hundred books left. We tore down the display and took a large armful to the college library (which has an OBCZ). As we walked out the door, I was amused to notice 2 books in a cubbyhole in the wall near the library. Wonder how long they’ll sit there?

Crrcookie, SqueakyChu, and I ended the day by taking the remaining books over to my OBCZ at the Pour House, and spent a couple of hours chatting, eating dinner, and re-living the events of the day. But I had only one question: How will we exceed this for next year?

Editor's Note: Pictured above: MaryZee, Lghtheart4, SqueakyChu, ResQgeek, Mom-Oyster, and crrcookie with lots of free books and people checking out the BookCrossing table. For more photos of the event, visit MaryZee's and Squeakychu's flickr albums.

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