Bookcrossing, what's new?

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Bookcrossing, what's new?

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1timspalding
Out 26, 2009, 2:58 am

So, it's been a while since I thought about BookCrossing, and had some conversations with the new CEO. I have no idea if he's still in place.

So, what's gone on in the last few years? Is the community growing? Is it shrinking? How has it changed, and the world changed it?

I'm asking because I am exploring ways for LT to get "more physical." Bookcrossing, while it's traffic according to Compete (http://siteanalytics.compete.com/librarything.com+bookcrossing.com/) looks stalled and small next to LibraryThing, still seems to have a hard core of very devoted followers. You are, presumably, part of that core.

So, what's the scoop?

2skoobdo
Editado: Out 26, 2009, 4:52 am

Is there a possibility of "Bookcrossing" merging with
"LibraryThing"? Looking at the statistics, the traffic of "Bookcrossing" is very small.
Are the members of LT allowed to do "book-swapping" with other LT members officially?
Indicate in their book catalogs, the books to be swapped.

BookCrossing to me is "one-way traffic transaction" merely by donating your unwanted or old books by
releasing to the public. I do not expect a person "to journalise" or comment the books they have read.The scope of BookCrossing is rather limited in allowing
their members to post threads. Their posting Groups
are controlled and regulated on certain subjects.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/forum

3k00kaburra
Out 26, 2009, 11:03 am

Not being a CEO or a member of the BC staff, I couldn't say with any certainty but it *seems* like it's gotten smaller to me. The website will send notices to you if a book is released in your area, and when I first joined up I used to get messages at least once or twice a week. I can't even remember the last time I got one now.

The # of registered members doesn't seem to be terribly different from LT - BC is in the low 800K, LT at the high end of 800K - but I think that more of those members active here. (A lot of BC members seem to register, leave a note for one of the books they've managed to find, and never come back.)

At BookCrossing, there isn't that much to do after you've registered the books. There are forums, but they're old fashioned and (in my opinion) a pain to use. There is a 'sister' site, BookObsessed.com, that was created off of a BookCrossing project, so I think a lot of the active people from BookCrossing have taken a lot of their trading/discussion activity there. Additionally, a lot of books who might have formerly 'released' books in their towns have probably switched to trading them online with the rise of book-swapping websites like Paperbackswap and Bookmooch.

I don't think the upper management has changed, but I could be wrong.

If some sort of partnership between LT and BookCrossing could be worked out, I think that'd be really cool. I'm a huge fan of both websites, and I do think BookCrossing is stagnated in terms of growth.

4timspalding
Out 26, 2009, 11:10 am

The # of registered members doesn't seem to be terribly different from LT

Registered members is a meaningless statistic. They've been around since 2001. They've got a higher threshold for "real" use. The traffic statistics from Compete show a more realistic usage difference. Assuming that LT gets more "drive by" traffic—people from Google who leave soon—I'm guessing we're 10x "real" usage. (http://siteanalytics.compete.com/librarything.com+bookcrossing.com/)

BookObsessed is, by traffic, miniscule.

I just heard the CEO I spoke to, not very profitably, has left and it's back in the hands of the founders.

Additionally, a lot of books who might have formerly 'released' books in their towns have probably switched to trading them online with the rise of book-swapping websites like Paperbackswap and Bookmooch.

Yes. I suppose that's true. Of course, it's a little different, but I bet the people are the same.

5LyzzyBee
Out 26, 2009, 2:07 pm

From my experience - I still

Wild release
Run and join book rings
Swap books with other people
Run Official BookCrossing Zones
Go to meetups

I am not as fanatical as I used to be (2007 was my wild releasing peak) but I still release about 500 books a year into the wild, mind you I am one of the most active members if you go by releasing statistics...

I have broadened in my use of the site. Eg this September I ran a charity release where loads of us registered and released books to raise awareness of a charity I support. Had a lot of fun with that and no noticeable dropping off of enthusiasm for other release challenges I partake in.

Re the forums, lots of people are still active, they are a bit clunky though! A lot of people also belong to local groups eg the BookCrossing UK yahoo group, sometimes instead, sometimes as well.

Hope that helps!

Liz

6SqueakyChu
Out 26, 2009, 6:27 pm

Cross-posting to BC and LT.

7SqueakyChu
Out 26, 2009, 10:13 pm

So, it's been a while since I thought about BookCrossing, and had some conversations with the new CEO. I have no idea if he's still in place.

He's no longer with Bookcrossing at all. I usually spend more time on LT than I do on BC so I'm not familiar with what management is doing at Bookcrossing now.

As I looked at your comparative graphs, it looks as if BC is not growing but that a steady core still meet regularly and find it fun. I know that I do.

The key to BookCrossing, for me, is the fun to get together with other bibliophiles. Recently I was quoted at the end of an article about BookCrossing in the Washington Post. :)

8SqueakyChu
Editado: Out 26, 2009, 10:20 pm

--> 4

Additionally, a lot of book(crosser)s who might have formerly 'released' books in their towns have probably switched to trading them online with the rise of book-swapping websites like Paperbackswap and Bookmooch.

Yes. I suppose that's true. Of course, it's a little different, but I bet the people are the same.


I'm one of those people who register books at Bookcrossing and then sometimes swap them at BookMooch. I have no problem giving books to other LTers, which I frequently do when I see a book I have read on the wishlist of someone I "know".

I'm finding Member Giveaways less fun because I don't "know" the winners of the books I've offered.

9wookiebender
Out 26, 2009, 10:47 pm

I still bookcross, but not as actively as I used to. I think it's a wonderful thing, and a wonderful site - it is very limited in what it can do, but leaving books in the wild and then getting journal entries from complete strangers... well, it's a buzz, and a nice one.

I got one catch the other week from a book that'd been released two and a half years ago: http://bookcrossing.com/journal/4586338

Nice.

I personally don't want much more out of bookcrossing than that - LibraryThing takes care of my cataloguing & book discussion (the forums are better set up and more flexible here).

And the Sydney (Australia) bookcrossers still meet up once a month and swap books, although it has boiled down to just a small regular group (alas, not me for some months now, due to personal commitments elsewhere) with an occasional new face.

10Megi53
Out 26, 2009, 11:10 pm

7: He's still listed under "Team" as an advisor.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/management

I felt like BookCrossing was growing, mainly because of all the press the Lost Book project got -- it surprised me to see the traffic graph.

11SqueakyChu
Out 26, 2009, 11:18 pm

Didn't know Scott was still on board as an advisor. I don't follow the fora over on BC much as I prefer to hang out with the real life Bookcrossers.

Yeah. When did it stop growing and level off? It used to be so proud of its growth. Surprising!

12skoobdo
Out 28, 2009, 5:43 am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

13melydia
Out 28, 2009, 10:55 am

I'm an active BC'er and nearly inactive LT'er (though that will most likely change since I was gifted a membership - thanks so much, squeakychu!!). For me, BC is a more social activity: I have a very active local group, and while we do get together to discuss/share books, we also go on release walks, give away books at festivals, and are even hosting the 2011 BC Convention. BC has also given me the opportunity to visit new places, as we try to chance the location of the monthly meets, plus finding OBCZ's (Official BookCrossing Zones) and attending area book-related festivals. I probably never would have gone places like The Book Thing of Baltimore, Kensington's International Day of the Book festival, or anywhere in Carroll County, Maryland, were it not for BC. (It was also a BookCrosser who founded one of my other weird hobbies, Markeroni.)

While LT'ers are always welcome at any BC events, they may be a little turned off by our cavalier treatment of books, leaving them all around for anybody to pick up. :)

There has been some occasional friction between BC management and members over the last few years, mostly of the "management changes something without warning, membership freaks out" variety. Otherwise, it doesn't feel like BookCrossing has gotten larger or smaller, more or less active. Maybe it's stagnating numberwise, but the level of enthusiasm seems to be about the same.

I have absolutely no idea if that even addresses your questions. I get started on BookCrossing and it just kind of goes. :)

14SqueakyChu
Out 28, 2009, 11:10 am

Thanks for your post, melydia.

You're very welcome for the LT lifetime membership. Enjoy it. It's a fun way to make a heartfelt donation to LT without embarrassing Tim. :)

Consider it a thank you for the hard word you've done in scheduling Bookcrossing meet-ups.

What you've expressed is what I'm trying to tell others. It's that, although the stats for BookCrossing may not show it, it's the human connection and what we can do together to make books and reading a fun hobby that brings BookCrossing alive. I can't tell you how much I look forward to our meet-ups and only wish that LibraryThing also had a core group who were as enthusiastic about doing group activities. I think Tim is (maybe, sort of) going in that direction but I'm not entirely sure. I know that some LTers are not "social creatures" but an activity such as merely just dropping off a book for someone else to pick up (and maybe staying for a cup of coffee) should not be too threatening. Here's hoping...

By the way, melydia, congrats on your excellent Markeroni status!

15SqueakyChu
Editado: Out 28, 2009, 11:17 am

By the way, if the stats (1, 026,733 presently - See the link in post #1) are accurate, September (2009) has brought LT over the one million unique visitors mark for that month.

Congratulations, Tim & Company!!

16timspalding
Out 29, 2009, 1:22 am

>15 SqueakyChu:

So, we have a rule about not giving out traffic data. We give out everything else, but not traffic. But I'll break it for this. Compete underestimates. In fact, Google Analytics reports 3,490,625 unique visitors in the last month. The visits number is similarly off. And our page-counts. Well, there's a reason we have multiple servers now...*

The problem is, from looking at other site's data--sites in analogous areas--I think they distort proportionally. So even if the numbers aren't right, they are useful for cross-site comparison.

*Note: Non English sites aren't counted into either number.