Has anyone else seen the web site http://www.bookcrossing.com - I recently discovered it through a friend of mine in Australia, and think it's a brilliant idea. The basic premise is that people "release" books into the wild, marked with a sticker stating that the book is free, and inviting people to make journal entries on the book as it travels around.
You register each book that you release, and get a unique number for it - when someone makes a journal entry, you are notified! The site is totally and completely free, although you can support it by buying "release stickers" etc (although they are also available completely free).
You can either release books just in public places or ask local cafes/pubs etc if they'll display a sign, and become an "official book release zone". As a person who constantly runs out of space for books, but hates to get rid of any, this community spirited way of doing it really seemed a great idea. I thought I might try and get a couple of spots around SE1 to agree to be "crossing zones" - any interest from anyone else? cheers Claire.
I've been doing it with friends for ages Claire (once I realised that there really isn't anything to be had from trying to sell books second hand). I don't bother with stickers, but woe betide my friends if I go round to their house and they're imprisoning one of my ex-books on their shelves.
I had a good look at the site after posting last night, thinking what a lovely idea it was to 'release' your favourite books and share them with others, to find that many of the books (I am assuming here of course) were ones that people probably just wanted to get rid of. But maybe its just my taste in reading matter.
In the States people were releasing a lot of postcard books of art etc, which seemed like a nice way to share a bit of inspiration to brighten up someone's boring journey perhaps, then pass on again quickly.
TUMJ - I sort of have the same opinion, but thought that I'd give it a go, and try to choose books carefully - although it is a matter of taste I guess. I've always done informal swaps with pals, but am sitting here going through the bookcase again and again - it's soooooo hard to let your favourites go! I'm hoping to visit a couple of pubs/cafes in the area in the next few days to see if they will agree to be crossing zones, so will post here if I have any luck.
I often get my books from ( & give my read ones back to ) charity shops. This way everyone has a cheap source of books and the charity makes 20 or 30p a time too. I've just read "Dude, Where's my Country" by Michael Moore - brilliant, funny & quite scary! Would thoroughly recommend it. (Tho my best pal has already got dibs on my copy!)
I am also interested. Time to move beyond 3 for 2 thrillers and try and stretch my brain again. Don't think I will ever be as erudite as the rest of the forum, but it would be fun to go part of the way.