Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Published March 23rd 2013
Catch and Release Your Books Into the Wild
How appealing is a cross between a treasure hunt and a message bottle? Especially when there is a free prize involved - in this case, free books, wandering the world to find you and vice versa.
Book Crossing is a free book movement which has taken the world by storm over the past decade. The idea is, you read a book which you enjoy, then 'liberate/release' or set it free - leave it on a park bench, at an airport, in a shop, on a tram etc., put a little label inside it with it's unique number and leave it for someone else to find and enjoy. The mantra is: Label, Share, Follow.
Book Crossing labels help you trace your book's journey
The new temporary owner who picks up the books, can go online, type the number in, and find out where the book has been, and put in their own journal notes. Some books have circumnavigated the globe a number of times, taking on a life of their own.
The Book Crossing Website has free labels and numbers which you can download and print at home to paste into your books, or a range of artist designed sticky bookplates which you can purchase ($16.95 for 25) - you can even custom-design your own. There is a section of the site where you can 'go hunting' for books: when people release their books 'into the wild' they list them on the site, including the location, and some keen fans go hunting for specific books - a little like geo-caching for lbookworms, I guess. At the time of writing, there were 642 books 'in the wild' in Australia, over 2,500 in the UK, 1,165 in Italy and even 2 in Qatar.
I have just left 'Persuasion' by Jane Austen on a seat in Mumbai Airport, India. I can't wait to see where it turns up, who reads it next and what they think of it - it's sort of like a global book club, but more fun - full of intrigue, mystery and fabulous free travel.