Bookcrossing has inspired an entry in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, which now defines “bookcrossing” as:

the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.

I’ve mentioned the site before, but here’s how it works. Instead of selling your old books at a yard sale or exchanging them at a used bookstore, you can register them at, drop them off at a coffee shop or hotel, or even on the subway, and track their progress around the world.

The Tyee reports that only 10% to 25% of the books dropped off are actually logged and tagged. And sometimes leaving a book in a coffee shop can be harder than you expect:

I had some trouble leaving it. I met [my boyfriend] for lunch in town yesterday, went in a bit early and dropped it on a table in a café. I thought I was being subtle about it. Ordered my drink and sat down at another table to spy on it. The lovely server brought it over with my drink – ‘I think you left this behind’. I felt a bit stupid telling him I meant to leave it there, so I just said thanks and took it. I’d already registered it at the crossing so on my way out I left it where I was sitting and before I got to the door the same little dood comes after me with it yelling ‘don’t forget your book!’ and we both laugh because its so ridiculous that anyone would forget the same book twice, and I give him my ‘my-middle-name-is-muppet’ face. He turns away, I quickly dump it on a table near the door and flee. I can never show my face in there again. He’s probably kept it under the counter, waiting to return it to me next time I’m in.

One Canadian writer who doesn’t use tells The Tyee that she occasionally leaves copies of her own books lying around hotels and hostels. Have any writers tried the drop-off promotion method and tracked their book’s progress with Bookcrossing? (Thanks to Caroline for the link.)


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