Jill, I am always happy to hear that people are talking about my books, and I don't think that several dozen free copies scattered across the U.S. is going to cause a problem for me--I've been in the business for a decade, and my series are pretty well established.
My concern is, rather, for authors just starting out, and I hope the writer of the newspaper article (which I didn't see) made that clear. I believe that readers should realize (many don't) that the author does NOT receive a royalty for books bought used or picked up free, and that all this after-market traffic can negatively influence sales to the point where the publisher decides to drop the author. Publishers go by the numbers, like it or not, and I know too many good writers whose contracts were not renewed.
There are lots of problems in the book business--Bookcrossing is only the tip of the iceberg. There is now an active used book market on-line that is beginning to seriously affect many authors' sales. I know of no author who does not have a very strong opinion about after-market book sales, on the scale it is now reaching on the Internet, although most authors find it politically incorrect to say so. I'm glad that my book sales have put me in a position to say what I think, and I know that I speak for many up-and-coming writers who are afraid to share their views.
You may share my comments with others, if you like. Thank you for writing to me--and I even dare to hope that when you get around to reading my work, you will like it well enough to support it.
Perhaps she does have a point but as usual I am amazed when people just don't 'get' bookcrossing. But not everyone is coming from the same place obviously! I am going to buy one of her books.