Read and release
I have been fascinated by the concept of bookcrossing.com for a long time. The idea of diminishing the mountain of books without letting the books go completely is very seductive. I have after all spent time with them, touched and paid attention to them for hours, some for days. It is hard to just let them go, and an ID that lets me trace their travels is just my things.
However: Today I was reading entries in the community section, when this comment leapt out at me:
I don't buy books for myself anymore, just for bookcrossing. Now the problem is that, as I'm registering them, I'm thinking, "Oh wow, I've just *got* to read this!"
This is written by a person who has registered more than 1500 books! The rest of the post indicates that the main goal is not so much to read books as to get a high score on the release list. Does this mean that bookcrossing is a game? I can see that it would be. You have those who release and those who hunt. There is definitely an element of quest on both sides, the quest for a nice place to leave a book and the quest for a book out there. The participants have different strategies to make their books be noted, and you can buy or make specialised equipment. There are rules you need to adhere to, and there is an arena that is defined through the release notes - where the place where you leave the book is defined as a bookcrossing zone. The actual reading of the book becomes secondary, if what you do is play this game of catch and release.