Pulp In The Wild: The BookCrossing Edition

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Run, pulp, run!
Have you ever wondered what happens to a book after it leaves your hands when you donate it to a library sale, leave it at a hotel’s trading library, or just forget it on the bus? Have you ever wished you could track your pulp? Then BookCrossing is for you.

With BookCrossing, you register your book, then leave it in a public place, trade it through a service, sell it at a yard sale…whatever.  With luck, the people who “catch” your book will log in (following the instructions you put inside the cover) and tell you where the book has gone.

BookCrossing - Killer Dreams
Iris Johansen’s Killer Dreams is a well-traveled tome.
You might think that your books won’t go far, but you’d be wrong. I wish more people would log books when they receive them, but so far I’ve had books go to Greece, Cyprus, Germany, Finland and Australia.

At left, you’ll see the three entries for Iris Johansen’s Killer Dreams.  I released it in NY. I am pretty sure Kislany is in Cyprus (it’s been a few years, so I am not a hundred percent sure and her profile doesn’t say), and then, just last month, almost four years after I released it, it was “caught” by a woman in Finland.  Pretty impressive!

I’ve also received books from really interesting places. I like to look at the free libraries if they have them in hotels. If I ever see a BookCrossing book, I take it with me just to move it along another leg on its journey. I once found Karen Young’s Good Girls, which had originally been released by a woman in Germany.

Lisa Jackson’s Almost Dead
Lisa Jackson’s Almost Dead, a world-traveler
My copy of Lisa Jackson’s Almost Dead went from New York City in October of 2007 to Hessen, Germany, to Niedersachsen, Germany and then, in July of 2011, it was logged in Springville, Tennessee!

I have dozens of other examples, but those are the the ones that stand out. I had no idea what to expect when I joined (which I did because I found a book on the train with a BookCrossing bookplate in the front), but it certainly wasn’t that my pulp would go on and on, bringing enjoyment to people all over the world.

The vast majority of books never get “journaled” again after you release them.  That’s just the harsh truth—the people who find them throw them away or just don’t bother to log them. But the exceptions to that rule are totally worth the effort of registering the books before you release them.

I haven’t released any books recently because I’ve been reading mostly ebooks, but I will have to go back to pulp so I can begin letting my pulp out into the world again. I encourage you to join me!

Laura K. Curtis lives in Westchester, NY, with her husband and 3 dogs who’ve taught her how easily love can co-exist with the desire to kill.  She blogs at Women of Mystery and maintains an online store at TorchSongs GlassWorks.  She can also be found on Twitter and poking her nose into all sorts of trouble in various spots around the web.


  1. Clare 2e

    Totally cool, and I’ve picked up BookCrossing books and moved them somewhere else, but never officially logged them. You’ve inspired me!

  2. Deborah Lacy

    This is excellent. I’ve seen it done with US paper money on Where’s George? but didn’t know it was also done with books. I can’t wait to release a few into the wild.

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