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Cross-country book swapping

If you believe in serendipity and the magic of books, then bookcrossing may just be your thing, writes Garima Sharma.

books Updated: Feb 05, 2009, 17:11 IST
Garima Sharma
Garima Sharma
Hindustan Times

If you believe in serendipity and the magic of books, then bookcrossing may just be your thing. How it works is: if you cannot find a specific book in a local bookshop, go online, tell the bookcrossing community and find it placed at a convenient place for you to pick up.

Conceived by Ron Hornbaker in 2001, bookcrossing has now translated into an international trend. In a chat with HT City, Heather Mehra-Pedersen, Cofounder of, tells us what BookCrossing (BC) means.

Started as an effort to make books traceable when they travel across the globe, bookcrossing today means “the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.” Says Heather, “BC is a mindshare so widely established that OED included it officially.” She adds, “The two things that change peoples’ lives are the books they read and the people they meet. And BC continues to do both. It puts a new twist on reading.”

Today, with almost 7,50,000 members in 120 countries, BC lists nearly 4.5 million registered books traveling the globe. Closer home, there are about about 7,000 bookcrossers in India. They meet at official BC zones or plan meetings with other bookcrossers and pick up books they want to read. Meanwhile, every registered book gets traced across the globe because of its unique bookcrossing ID.

Bookcrossers can also participate in other activities. Says Heather, “They can release books, start an official bookcrossing zone in their local coffee shop or bookstore, attend a meet, contact other bookcrossing members, get involved in forums...there are just tonnes of things they can do!”

It certainly seems that a book registered on bookcrossing is one that is ready for adventure!

ht epaper

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