It’s better than littering: book-dropping program promotes
By Dan Perry
If you find someone else’s books on campus, don’t
take them to the lost and found without giving them a good
second look — that someone may not want them back.
About 50 books have been set free in London, specially tagged
and registered at www.bookcrossing.com, and are waiting in
various locations to be found, said London Public Library’s
Westmount branch supervisor Alastair Neely.
“I thought this was kind of a neat thing to do,” he
said. “I think it improves literacy and allows people
to have fun.
Neely said he set some books free at several Tim Hortons and
Krispy Kremes in London. “I felt guilty just walking
in and leaving books on their counters,” he said. Books
were also released in bus shelters, grocery stores and at the
London International Airport, he added.
The BookCrossing website has been operating since April 2001,
said founder and editor Ron Hornbaker, and started out with
only about 1,000 members.
“We’ve been very lucky,” he said. “We
haven’t spent a dime on marketing; the press has come
to us.” Hornbaker explained that membership has climbed
by 100,000 in the site’s second year, a number that has
now reached 230,000.
“It’s not really that easy to release a book,” Hornbaker
said. “People keep trying to return it. People won’t
even pick up something if they think someone’s coming
right back for it.”
He noted the site’s membership is very diverse: the
program has infiltrated 130 countries, 30 per cent of which
are non-English speaking.
When a user finds a book, they can log onto the website and
register the location where the book was found, along with
their thoughts. “The people we attract are really passionate
readers and love to talk about books,” he added.
“Of course, we encourage people to re-release the books,” Hornbaker
“There’s quite a few [books] that have been released
at Western,” Neely said, adding interested students should
log on to the website to find out where to look. “One
of our books has already been found,” he added.
“I think it’s kind of neat,” said fourth-year
health sciences student Brienne Lowey. “I like to read,
[so] that’d be fun to find a book.”
“The idea seems interesting, but I don’t think
it will have a big impact on students. [Books] to do with arts,
science fiction have a better chance than something scientific,” said
third-year electrical engineering student Ammar Naji.