BASICALLY, you take a book you own and you register it on this site. You then get a BCID (book crossing ID), you label your book with the BCID and any other distinguishing marks you wish to place in/on your book, and then you release it. Either by leaving it somewhere someone will find it or giving it to someone. Once a book with a BCID is found you go to the site and type in the ID and the person who released it gets an email and TA-DA! The magic of some random person finding your book. And who knows how far your book may travel!

If this isn’t the coolest thing you’ve seen in a while, you’re lying. We should all do this and see who gets our books. I’m in. 

Free a Book

bookcrossing Noun. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise. (Source: wikipedia)

(from left to right 1) The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, J. R. R. Tolkien 2) Love in the time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez 3) War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy)

This has always been one of my favourite ideas. But then, I did study literature at University. This is a global bookclub. Books are deliberately left in public to be found by a stranger, who reads it and passes it on. It’s a community fuelled by the following aims -

The official online community is an online database for books moving around the world. Once a book is found, it can be registered here and subsequent readers can add their contribution to its journey.

There’s something heartening about the voyage of a book. Of course they may be blissfully unaware, but they spend countless hours in the hands of people consumed by their pages. Some scripture has lasted thousands of years. Why not join the celebration of sharing books? Just make sure you leave it somewhere someone will find it like a train or a park bench, with a note inside explaining the project. Otherwise you may be just littering. 

Contact me on


Book swapping tree in Prenzlauer Berg, corner of Kollwitzstraße/ Sredzkistraße, in front on café Anna Blume.

I love the idea, but unfortunately like all my bookcrossing experiences, it’s a bit annoying that I put out the books I wanted other people to read, while 80% of the people use it as a way to get rid of books they’d otherwise have put into the recycling bin. Of course people take the good books away pretty quickly, of course I didn’t expect it to be a way to get my hands on the newest bestsellers for free, but it would work better if they occasionally put some equally good books into the tree (I never saw anyone actually swap but me, all the other people just took a book, but bookcrossing as I know it is okay with that - still, there’s git to be a give-take balance for this to work…). What I -so far- found instead were discarded old school books and whatnot.

It makes me think I should rather keep my books until my kid’s old enough to read them or a friend shows interest in them.

I’d give it three out of five stars, one for the idea, one for the actuall book shelf/ tree idea, one for the location.

Here’s a more enthusiastic review:


Have you heard of ‘Book Crossing’?

It is a fantastic way to get more and more people to read different books for no fee.

With the intention to make the world an enormous library, people all around the globe are participating this exercise. You may not be able to travel the world easily but your book just might!

What is Book Crossing?

Book Crossing is the act of leaving a book at a random place (or a fixed region, accepted by other Book Crossers beforehand) with a customized tag on, to have a random person (or someone you agreed with) pick it up and read it; only to do the same when that person finishes the book.

The tag you have customized with a BCID (Book Crossing ID) will act as a passport for your book so you can track it down.

If you like this exercise but value your own books too much then I suggest you to fetch a 2nd hand book you have wanted to read, from an antiquarian and involve it to the system. (That’s what I am planning to do :)

For more information about Book Crossing, click here.

BookCrossing Unravelled

Ever been out for an evening drink, or a mid-morning coffee and noticed a pile of books on a shelf in the corner?  Chances are you’ve stumbled across a BookCrossing site.  The scheme, encouraging people to share their books once they’ve read them, has been gaining popularity in recent years, so we asked local BookCrosser Karen to tell us more…

AWW:  Could you explain the idea of BookCrossing, and how/where it originated?
Karen: was set up in 2001 in Idaho, by Ron Hornbaker.  Since then, over 9 million books and 1.1 million people have been involved, in 132 different countries. 
Basically, you sign up for an account (for free), type in the ISBN or title of your book and it is allocated its own unique number. Once you’ve written in the number or put a sticker in the book, you can either leave it lying around for someone to find or put it on a bookshelf designated an Official BookCrossing Zone - there are around seven of these in Colchester alone.
If someone else fancies reading it, they can, free.  It’s all about sharing.

AWW:  How did you first become involved in BookCrossing yourself?
Karen:  Lots of the books have stickers on and this is often the way people find out about it; word of mouth is another, and a suitably sized ‘unconvention’ in your town is another.  There’s be one of these happening in Colchester in 2012 - keep reading for more information!

Keep reading

Have you heard of this? If you haven’t check it out.  A really cool website that tracks the adventures of books travelling around the world.  Anyone can release a book (maybe an old favourite they have twice, or even an unwanted gift) to be either passed on or left somewhere to be discovered. I found “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac at a “book crossing zone”, and so am the first to read it… I’m excited to finish it and send it on. The novel has already accompanied me to Wales and on a hike up Mount Snowdon, so it’s getting around. I’ll release some of my own favourite books into the wild during the coming months so some incredible literature may be flying your way soon!  Lets share some books :)  My user ID on there is AndrewJolly if you’re interested.

Bookcrossing: per un libro libero.

L'idea di base è di rilasciare libri nell'ambiente naturale compreso quello urbano, o “into the wild”, ovvero dovunque si preferisca, affinché possano essere ritrovati e quindi letti da altri, che eventualmente possano commentarli e altrettanto eventualmente farli proseguire nel loro viaggio. Il termine deriva da, un club gratuito di libri on-line fondato nel 2001 per incoraggiare tale pratica, al fine di “rendere il mondo intero una biblioteca”. (fonte Wikipedia)

A Berlino il progetto “Book Forest” prevedeva la creazione di piccole biblioteche inserite in tronchi di alberi caduti, sistemati lungo la strada.

Questi i siti di scambio ufficiale italiano:

Qui invece trovate ‎l'elenco dei luoghi di scambio divisi per regione: