The internet is an amazing tool, and in the past ten years or so has changed our lives so much. I often think that this is an incredible time of change that we are living through, and we will look back upon this period one day, when our grand-children ask, “What was it like before the internet?”
There are some fantastic and innovative ideas out there, and one of my current favourites is Bookcrossing.
A couple of years ago, I went to visit Marty, and one of his housemates had a drum kit set up. I sat down and had a bash, and quite enjoyed it. “Here,” said Mike, “take a set of sticks home and practice.”
“I can’t take your drumsticks.”
“Yeah you can, I just found a whole load more of them in the garage, share the wealth, man.”
The next day, while delivering rugs, our customer allowed us to fill several carrier bags with the tastiest oranges from the tree in her garden. On the way home I dropped in at Marty’s, and grabbed a bag full of oranges, and gave them to Mike. I told him where they had come from, and grinned, “Share the wealth.”
“That’s awesome,” he said, “I love oranges, and I’ve got nothing for breakfast. Yeah, share the wealth, nice.”
A couple of days later I finished the book I was reading, and thought that a particular friend of mine would like to read it. I passed it on to her, and told her the “Share the wealth” story. I said I did not want the book back, I would never read it again and it would just gather dust on my bookshelf. All I asked was that when she finished it she pass it on to someone else that she thought would enjoy it.
I thought about this afterwards. I have always had this attitude with books. It is better that someone else reads it rather than it gather dust for ever more on a shelf. And my thoughts led me to think of “The Share The Wealth Book Club”
My idea never got any further than that, but for my birthday Laura designed and printed a label for the club. They are still here in my desk drawer, along with the drumsticks, I think.
Just a couple of months ago while travelling across Australia, I gave a book to a friend and told her about my original idea, and she suggested I look up Bookcrossing on the internet. I went and had a look at the site, and it is very similar to what I thought of, but they have taken it to the next level, way beyond anything I could imagine.
You can register a book, and get a unique ID for it, which you put inside the book, then leave it wherever you like. If someone else finds it they can log in and register as the new owner, and can then pass it on later. Some books build up an incredible history of travel from owner to owner.
I have registered, and have left books in parks, train stations, at bus stops, and handed over personally.
Take a look at www.bookcrossing.com, dust off some of those books that you will never read again, and share the wealth.