Week 7: Sharing is Caring No.1 – BookCrossing!

Everybody knows that libraries are one of the best places a community can have. You can read any book you like, as well as the latest newspapers for absolutely free, use internet and computers when you’re travelling (I took advantage of this more than a few times), pay your bills, copy and print your stuff when your printer has broken, and simply connect yourself with the world. In these fast times a lot of people overlook the value of the local library, which we really shouldn’t.

But what I actually want to talk about in this post is a new way to make the whole world a library. It’s called BookCrossing, and it’s one of the countless platforms of awesome people who don’t care much about owning. They love sharing.

Sharing in general is a great thing if done right. No tools and gadgets are left in the garage/kitchen shelf to be used only once in 10 years if you share it with people who need it and maybe don’t have to money to afford it all. Nobody needs to learn how to make essentially everything themselves or pay a huge bill if people share their knowledge and help each other out. This is what communities were initially for, and what some people in our economy don’t want to see. Sharing reduces buying, reduces waste, reduces exploitation, increases the money in our pocket.

Sharing only works though if people have the chance to communicate well, and internet has made it so much easier to share anything. Which brings us back to the books. BookCrossing is a platform where any person all over the world can register their books, pass them on to other members or ‘leave’ them in random places for others to find. The book’s journey (which is can potentially be all around the world) is recorded online and people can write about where they found it, how they liked it and other stuff. All, of course, for free.

There’s a whole community emerged made of people who simply love reading books and don’t see the need to go out any buy the latest bestsellers if they could get it for absolutely nothing from others, who in turn get another book for absolutely nothing. I mean, be fair, that IS absolutely awesome.

I’ve been on BookCrossing for quite some time and had never had any bad experience. I mean, what bad experience can there possibly be if you leave a book on a random place for strangers to pick up. That it disappears? Well, I gave it away, that’s exactly the point. To the contrary, I had amazingly good experiences with random strangers offering me books from their collection simply because they wanted to and because I stated that I’d like to read these books. They even paid the postage across the channel.

Some sceptic people might ask, ‘Why would I pay 2 quid to swap a book with a stranger if I can get it from the thrift shop for 1 quid?’.

Well, first of all, that’s not always the case, especially with new books and bestsellers, bookshops take a lot of money from us and we only read it once. And then? It stays in the bookshelf for the rest of our live. Why would we not want to lengthen their lives and read about all those people who enjoyed it as much as we?

Secondly, this is the perfect thing to do if you want to downsize and don’t have books of great value. Give them away! Leave them somewhere as a surprise for others, and again, read who discovered it!

Thirdly, it’s simply awesome to see how far a book can travel, which places it’s been and how the h*** it got there. Who else can brag about having books that have travelled already to all continents??

If this doesn’t convince you to part with all those treasures of yours, fair enough. But, lastly, this is also a great way to get free books yourself. Without the giving away part. Simply log on, check who’s got the book, and ask them kindly. So far, I got a yes in 100% of all cases. That’s some statistics!

I’m going to talk some more in the weeks to come about the multitude of ways in which people nowadays can share, share, share. But in the meantime: if you’ve got a platform to share with us that I / we should definitely have a look at, leave a comment!

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