According to Bookcrossing.com, there are currently 35 “travelling” books in Tacoma. Rather than just being donated to Goodwill, or —horrors!— thrown away, these pre-owned books have been “released” into the community. But first, their previous owners registered them with Bookcrossing.com, and left little clues as to their whereabouts.
Feel like a treasure hunt?
As of today, here’s where you can find Tacoma Books in the Wild! (See more details about the actual books you’ll find in these locations here. )
- Northern Pacific Coffee Company — 1 book, released 2 days ago
- Parkland Spanaway Library, front inside bench — 1 book, released 4 days ago
- PLU Book Store Lounge — 1 book, released 4 days ago
- Waldron Endoscopy Center — 1 book, released 2 weeks ago
- Allenmore Medical Center — 1 book, released 2 weeks ago
- Starbucks (72nd & Portland) — 1 book,release 4 weeks ago
- Starbucks (12821 Pace Ave S.) — 2 books, released 4 weeks ago
- Titus Will Tacoma — 24 books, released 4 weeks ago
- Bus Stop (Yep, that’s all it says) — 1 book, released 4 weeks ago
- Tacoma Mall — 1 book, released 4 weeks ago
Bookcrossing is based on that travel-and-track concept from a bit ago: “Where’s George,” with all the red-stamped dollar bills. *
Bookcrossing is the same idea. But with Books!
In the most basic summary, Bookcrossing works like this: 1) You choose a book you want to “release;” 2) You register it on the website and get a tracking ID, which you then write in the book. Then, 3) You leave the book somewhere public where it will be “caught.” Easy.
And lest you think this is some cover-up for littering, and simply leaving your unwanted items in public, here’s what the Bookcrossing FAQs page has to say about that:
Aw, come on. Books promote literacy, enable the transfer of knowledge, and can bring inspiration, hope, and joy. Is that bad? Hopefully, nobody considers books “litter”. Consider it a gift that can change your life for the better. So lighten up! What’s the worst that could happen… you might see a few books on park benches, or bus seats, or diner tables? Make the world one big library! Or take the safer, more conventional route, and give your books to friends, or to charities, or trade them in at a used book store, or whatever… just pass them on so they can touch more lives.
There’s even a whole line of Bookcrossing Supplies: Bookmarks, bookplates, and sticky notes identifying a book as a “Free” or “Travelling book.”
You can also order reusable tyvek book mailers for bookcrossing internationally. A quick scan of the “Recently Released Books list” shows books from Utah, Hamburg, Pennsylvania, Cornwall, Amsterdam, and Winnipeg.
The hope is, of course, that the books will actually be read before they are passed on. Bookcrossing builds on the “Gee, lookit where that came from!” factor to also encourage reading and expand a someone’s usual literary selection… you might even call each wild book a little paperback ambassador of shared knowledge. But I guess that’s entirely up to you, the finder.
Oh, and also check out Postcrossing! Lots of fun!
* Remember the red-stamped dollar bills you’d sometimes get from the mini-mart, or as change at a restaurant? I know they were supposed to record crazy, epic adventures…. but I participated once, and my dollar bill went all the way from a movie theatre in Bellingham to an AM-PM in Tacoma! The books seem to get a little farther afield.