Books that get second looks

They will be left in taxis, on buses, in pubs and cafes and on park benches.

Some will be held in the hand of a statue.

To avoid confusion, they will carry enticing messages such as: “Look

inside”, “Read me”, or “Take me home”, just in case people think they

are lost.

Bookcrossing has hit Manchester. On Saturday, hundreds of books will be

released on to the streets of the city.

Books by Martin Amis and Alex Garland will be distributed along with

cookbooks and others on the history of steam locomotives in an event

organised by Urbis, Manchester’s museum of the city.

But what is bookcrossing?

It is an American phenomenon that began in April 2001 and has taken off

throughout the world. Almost half a million books have been “released”

and there are more than 146,000 members worldwide.
Books are left behind

(or released into the wild). They contain a unique identity number which is

registered on the website.

When someone finds one, they can register on the site and track the

journey it has taken before it reached them. They can also leave an online

review. The process is repeated when they finish the book and leave it

somewhere else.

Emails will be sent to them informing them of what happens to the book

after it leaves them - if someone who finds it registers with the website.

Ron Hornbaker, the founder of bookcrossing, describes it as “the karma

of literature” designed to “make the whole world a library”.

Scott Burnham, the creative director of Urbis, said: “We will be

peppering books around the city which will be to everyone’s tastes. “We

consider this to be the urban equivalent of message in a bottle.”—Guardian Newspapers

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