Although I think it has other functions that I haven't fully explored, the main purpose of Book Crossing is to provide a system wherein you can register your books and then "release them into the wild." When you register a book, the book is given an ID number which is written on the inside cover along with a polite note explaining that the finder should go to Book Crossing and input the number to find out where the book has already been. Then you leave the book somewhere and see where it ends up.
Of course, there's always the possibility the book will disappear and never be heard from again. But really, I think it's a fun enough adventure that it's worth the risk. (And besides, if someone else throws away my books they'll go to hell for it, not me!)
So far I've released one book and have two others registered and ready to go. (And in case you thought I was kidding about the book-hoarding-thing, two of the three were books I have duplicates of.)
It's a little harder than you'd think to set a book free. For my first book I tried to target somewhere I thought would be likely to attract the kind of person who a) has internet access and b) would be likely to follow through and go to the website. I ended up deciding on one of my favorite local coffee shops.
Then there was the matter of packaging. If I saw a spare book laying around, I would probably be reluctant to take it because I would be afraid it belonged to someone. So I attached a large copy of this note to the outside, which says in big print, "I'm Free!" Then--in case I got the urge to drop the book some where inclement--I put it all in a little plastic baggie.
Sweet Husband did the actual releasing. I stood outside with the dogs as he went in to order coffee, shiftily placing the book on an empty table as he did so. He said it made him feel suspicious, but watching from outside I thought he did beautifully.
Into the wild little book!
To see my Book Crossing page, click here.