Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Launch of BookCross@SG: Books need to be freed!

It's official -- Singapore has been recognised by BookCrossing.com as the first BookCrossing country.

And so mentioned Mr Scott Sorochak, President & CEO of BookCrossing.com, at the launch and MoU signing of BookCross@SG at the Plaza of the National Library this afternoon.
Scott Sorochak MoU signing between BookCrossing.com & NLB
The crowd

More details of how BookCross@SG works, at http://bookcross.sg

Apparently, "more than 2000 official hotspots have been selected to allow Singaporeans to exchange books".

The hotspots are not WIFI hotspots but BookCross@SG hotspots. Technically, you can leave books anywhere to be "crossed". But having a designated hotspot works just as well, particularly for those not familiar with the idea of random crossing a book (besides, having hotspots reduce the risk of a book being taken away by cleaners before they get a chance to be crossed). These hotspots will be given a customised BCSG sticker that will be placed at a prominent area for the exchange to take place.

It gets more interesting -- some of the hotspots are Taxi Cabs!

SMRT Taxis, to be exact. Hats off to my colleagues who pulled this off (and also the support of the SMRT Taxi company too). This was the cab that drove in as part of the launch.
An SMRT Taxi Cab BookCross Hotspot!

Quick, go buy your 4-D number now! LOL
The Cab

As part of the launch, the guests were told to reach under their seats. Taped to the bottom of each seat was an envelop containing a BookCross@SG book. Mine turned out to be a brand new Roald Dahl's "Tales of the Unexpected", yay! (Thanks to the kind sponsors who donated the initial lot of books for the launch).
My BookCross@SG book surprise

OK, I admit the first thought that popped into my head was to hoard the book. But it just wouldn't be right. After all, Books need to be FREED!
BookCross@Sg logo

Yes, yes. I promise I will free my book after reading it. Immediately.

Many of the guests gamely went to register the BookCross ID (BCID) of their book on the spot:
Registering the BCIDs

Where's the BCID?

You don't have to look for it like that! LOL (thanks to my colleague, Jillian, for posing):
Gee, I need my glasses!

It's usually at the back of the book cover:
Looking for the BCID

And here's my registered entry at the BookCrossing.com site:
BookCrossing.com website submission

Some of my colleagues were already into the advanced stages of negotiations to exchange their books. Hey guys, you're supposed to read the books first!
My colleagues attempting to cross their books

I understand that a few months ago, my colleagues involved in this project met with some of the management team members of the BookCrossing Singapore (www.bookcrossing.com.sg). I wasn't at the meeting. I'm not sure what were the details of the discussion. But I understand there's some cordial understanding of how both BookCross@SG and BookCrossing Singapore can collaborate together. It'll be nice if the Mainstream Media would give some coverage to the efforts of BookCrossing Singapore too.

BookCrossing Singapore... BookCross@SG... in my opinion, there's never too many groups when it comes to promoting the reading habit. It's definitely a good thing to have both grassroots and national efforts in encouraging Singaporeans to read.

Today's event made me dig up some of my earlier posts, where I'd mentioned BookCrossing:


  1. VERY cool! Thanks for all the pictures and the fun write-up. We've been expecting this to hit the newswires and blogosphere, and your entry was one of the first in my Google alerts :)

    May all your books be 'crossed!


    great post ivan. i'm going to learn more about this bookcrossing. it's great that libraries - and taxi cabs - are involved.

    books need to be freed.

  3. We've come a long way since it first appeared on our radars in 2003... mentioned in the Apr-Jun 2003 issue of HighBrowse, to be precise. :-)

  4. I'm really excited about this. Have been waiting for this to take off here for a long time! Oh I hope a book crosses my path soooon...

  5. Aaagh!! I can't stand it. Typos bug me. Just checked out http://www.bookcrossing.com.sg/index.htm and they spelt Singapore without an "i" and called NLB "National Library Bard".

  6. Hi Vara, I've emailed the contact person at bookcross.com.sg to look into the typo. Thanks for the alert.

  7. Kelvin Quee12:29 pm

    Way cool post! Reminds me of our first meeting at Toa Payoh Central Library 2 years ago!

    Here's the link for those who missed it. ;)


  8. bearyfriend12:36 pm

    I'm so excited finally Singapore is catching the bookcrossing heat. All along I've been releasing books without being journalled, and when chatting with friends, they said hv never heard of bookcrossing.

    One question though - where do I get the round stickers & label plates for my to-be released books? Do I still use those I got from bookcrossing.com?

  9. Anonymous1:58 pm

    Yet in typical Singapore fashion the version of bookcrossing implemented is all about....

    control! you guessed it right, you win nothing.

    From bookcrossing.com
    "So go grab a book or two from your shelves now (they're not doing anyone any good there, are they?), register them here, jot down our URL and the BCID we'll give you inside the covers, and then give them away or leave them where someone will find them."

    From bookcrossing.sg
    "I have a personal English Fiction book that I’d like to donate to BCSG. Can I leave it at any hotspot?

    No, it is highly recommended that donation of books for BCSG must be passed to the Customer Service Counter at any of the 23 public libraries. It is also important to note that only English Fiction titles (excluding Children books) of good physical quality are accepted."

    We are Singapore,
    We are Singapore,

  10. Very very very very very cool.

  11. Anonymous3:14 am

    oh shit, pardon my language, they're destroying the book covers with the BookCrossing stickers again...paste it in the inner covers or on top of a protective covers, for goodness sake of the books!!

  12. COOL!!!

    Hope we will have like this in M'sia.

    -M'sia BCer-

  13. Ivan,
    Great coverage and appreciate the blog mention. I had a great time in Singapore and strongly believe this effort is going to be very successful and well received with the Singapore community.
    Best Regards,
    CEO BookCrossing

  14. Anonymous4:25 pm

    hey anonymous, i don't think BCSG means that people can't continue to Book Cross in their own way. U can still buy or get the BC stickers from bookcrossing.com, and organise private meetups that have nothing to do with BCSG. BCSG is just one way to structure book crossing, not the only way and if "typical singaporeans" can get active and initiate their own activities, i very much doubt that the libraries will stop u. It's not abt winning or losing anything, rather who puts in effort rite?

  15. You guys make us green w envy!! Congrats!!!

  16. Anonymous7:24 pm


    How's Book Crossing working out in Singapore? How about an update?

  17. @anonymous - the Bookcross.sg (BCSG) initiative is still alive and well. Here's their post on their 2nd anniversary: http://bookcross.sg/?page_id=59

    BTW, I learned that book donation bins are now available at all public libraries (except library@esplanade) for the BCSG movement. Informally I was told by a colleague they received more than 16,000 book donations (I think it's cumulative). Cheers!


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