This is the absolute best idea I've seen in a long, long time. It's called "Bookcrossing." The basic concept: turn the world at large into one giant lending library. How does it work? Basically, you take a book that you want to "release into the wild," and register it at bookcrossing.com. They give you a unique tracking number for the book, which you write on the inside cover, along with the website's url. Then you leave the book somewhere--at your local coffee shop, at the grocery store, at church, at a bus stop, wherever you want--and when someone finds it, they go to the website, log in using the book's tracking number, and mark where they found the book. Then, when they're done reading it, they do the exact same thing. You can go to the website and look up the book you've released and see where in the world it's gone--you wouldn't believe all the countries where this is happening! From Afghanistan (currently listing 3 books in the wild) to Burkina Faso (I don't even know where that is, but they have 2 books) to Spain (1,389 books) to the good ole' US of A (16,002 books--but we have an unfair advantage since we started the program). You can click on a country and go all the way down to the city level to see how many books are currently listed as being there--here in RSM there are apparently 7 floating around. And guess what?! Two members have "Worlds Collide" listed as being in their possession!
There's a lot more to the site than just this; go take a look so you can see what all they do. For those of us who consider reading to be more important than, say, eating, this is a dream come true. I can't wait to release some of my books into the wild!
And so we come to the end…
2 months ago