ALL the links to Amazon???
Anyway, one of the things I loved about Bookcrossing was that it seemed a kind of clandestine, even counter-cultural, COMMUNITY that was NOT about commercialism. Hang on--BEFORE you say "you can upgrade to wings," etc.--if that would even help this situation, on my end--this is NOT just bothering me for me personally. I don't like SENDING people to a site that is all about the giant corporate world-eaters, either, so now I wonder if I should even register my books here at all, anymore. I guess I can just leave books about for free, with a note saying "enjoy and pass it on"--whoever found my first two releases didn't check back in to Bookcrossing anyway, so I don't know how often one even gets the fun of seeing where your books travel off to. But I'm disappointed; I loved the idea of Bookcrossing but I don't want to support Amazon, B&N, and the other giant world-eating corporate titans, in any way. IS there any help for this, or am I just going to have go back to being a completely anonymous, unregistered book-fairy?
You can do some things to cut down on the sidebar ads, other than getting wings; you probably know about cookies and browser-histories, but there are settings that can help reduce the amount of "you used Amazon once to look up a title and now every single web page you view has a list of Amazon ads in the sidebar".
I can't tell you whether you should stick with the site or not. I've loved it for almost 15 years and am not about to stop now, but if it isn't enjoyable for you, then it would make sense for you to put your energies elsewhere. But if you want some more optimistic views of BookCrossing, check out the Site Watch forum to see books that have traveled far, have been found and appreciated, sometimes making the finder's day... Even if your own books haven't checked in, it can be fun seeing the catches others have had.
I don't know if this helps at all, but I do mention where I got my books in all my JEs; that is, if I bought 'em from Amazon or B&N, or if (more often) I got them from thrift shops, library sales, charity shops, independent book-sellers, other book-swap shelves, as gifts... Those who come to the site via my books can see all that, as well as my thoughts on the books themselves, so it should (I hope) be obvious that I'm all about the books, not about "Must. Buy. From. Amazon." But that does require reading the JEs, and may not balance the impression of the site for those whose first visit shows lots of big-bookstore sidebar ads, so... maybe not as helpful as you'd like.
I know there have been feature-requests in the past for additional lookup-options, and maybe someday we'll get some...
I love BookCrossing more every year, but it has always been very precarious financially. Now that I have a lot of books out in the world I worry that if BookCrossing doesn't have the money to continue, my books will become orphans, unable to write home.
So I am very happy to support BookCrossing through label and sticker purchases from the Supply Store and directing any purchases I make through their partner and affiliate links, not all of which are Amazon links. http://www.bookcrossing.com/buy In fact, the preferred link is with Better World Books.
They also make a small amount from ads. Although BookCrossing remains free, you can eliminate seeing ads by purchasing wings for as little as $5 a month (I think) or by making purchases.
Very few of the members make donations or make purchases however and I personally do not begrudge BookCrossing taking ads to stay alive. I'd be devastated if the site failed. I guess if enough members supported the site it would not have to take ad revenue, but at this point it does have to, to continue to exist.
1) When I put in the ISBN to register a book, there was nothing BUT Amazon or Google to look the ISBN up through--so that's free advertising for Amazon and Google, not even an ad. It seems to me that that really should be a link to the Library of Congress or some other such PUBLIC inventory of ISBN's. I quit the ISBN lookup at that point and just added the book myself, the "long way," because I don't want to give the world-swallowers any support, if I can possibly help it. I don't remember that the ISBN lookup was through Amazon or Google two years ago, and I don't like that it is now.
2) On my listing for the book, once it was registered, prominently displayed AS A PART OF THE LISTING is a list of links to "buy this book" with a bunch of links for multiple different Amazons all over the world, and B&N, and other sellers. The whole point of BookCrossing, I thought, was about SHARING books, not buying them. So I resent that those links are basically a part of MY listing where I'm trying to SHARE the book--not "side ads," but right there in the center of my actual listing. That really bothers me. :/ I don't choose to work for those companies, or give them my business, and I resent being made to "shill" for them, without my permission and against my will, just by trying to share a book through BookCrossing. My listing IS an ad for them. They're not paying ME for generating that ad for them. I just did it for free. And I wouldn't have done it if they DID offer to pay me. So. . . . uncool. :/
2) On my listing for the book, once it was registered, prominently displayed AS A PART OF THE LISTING is a list of links to "buy this book" with a bunch of links for multiple different Amazons all over the world, and B&N, and other sellers. The whole point of BookCrossing, I thought, was about SHARING books, not buying them.
Well... somebody has to buy the books before they can share them; it's not as if they appear out of nowhere!
I get that you're not happy about having the bookseller links appear on your book-listings. You could post a suggestion in the Features forum to have a profile option to hide the bookseller link on books you registered; I don't know how hard that would be to implement, and I do know there aren't a lot of resources for site-tweaking just now, but you could certainly ask. You might find others who feel the same way.