Ooh, ooh, ooh! Thought I’d share two cool recent book-related website finds.
The first is for all you children’s book author wannabes (my name is soooo on that list!). Biguniverse.com is a fun new site that not only sells children’s books, you can read them online first for free — so if you’re looking to buy, but it’s not a book you’re familiar with, you can not only judge the book by its cover, you can actually read it, front to back, and decide if it’s for you. So far there are several hundred books available for purchase there, all of which can be read completely first.
My favorite part about the site, and here’s where the author-aspiration part comes in, is its “Create” tab — click it and get down to business writing your own children’s book. Choose your fonts, illustrations, text, title, cover, pages, all of it. It’s just a cool (totally time-consuming, be-prepared-to-get-sucked-into-it) exercise to see it come to life right before your eyes. You know, to help you keep the dream alive. If nothing else, it’s something to do with all that extra time on your hands. Ha.
The other site — and I know I’m late to the party on this one having only recently found it — is bookcrossing.com. I love the thinking behind it: recycling books you no longer want and “setting them free” to travel the world and land into the hands of people you’ve never met. And, best of all, you can even track your former book’s travels!
Imagine, the site says, leaving a book on a park bench, in a coffee shop or in a hotel while on vacation for someone else to find. I can’t help but think I’d keep wondering if and when someone found it and whether the surprise made their day! There’s something mysterious and romantic about the idea. Yes. I know. I’m strange that way.
OK, so imagine being the person who stops to rest on the bench and sees a book sitting all by its lonesome. You look around but don’t see anyone that looks like they belong to it. So you flip over the cover. A bookplate explains it’s been set free and is yours for the reading. An unexpected gift. (And we can all agree that books and reading are a gift, right?) Bring it home, log onto the site and mark the book “captured.” When you’re done, set it free and check in later on the site to see when it’s found a new home.
The site boasts that 651,923 people in more than 130 countries have “shared their passion for books with the world.” In fact, the term “bookcrossing: n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise,” was added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary in 2004.
Yeah, I’m definitely late to this party. If you are too, don’t fret. We’ll go together. Click your state, find your town or the closest one with a book that’s been set free and not yet captured, and your adventure awaits.
(My problem is actually letting go of the books in the first place. Just ask all my stuffed bookcases, the boxes of books in the attic that I can’t part with, and my husband, who’s carried them up and down and around over the years with me pointing where I want them. Rrrrright.)