You know that plan I had for registering all my “personal collection” books? Well, I’ve hit a bit of a hitch already – I’ve lost my wings. Ok, I can see that might need some explanation. Bookcrossing, as I’ve mentioned before, is completely free to join, but they do need to get some money to run it from somewhere, so they have a Supply Store which sells things like labels, bookmarks and Bookcrossing memorabilia. If you buy something from the store, or make a donation, then you get little wings attached to your username, which last for a month before they fade out and disappear. The only benefit to having wings (other than showing off the fact that you’re supporting the site) is that winged members have access to the beta version of the site, where new features are tested before being transferred over to the main site. So why does that stop me registering my books? Well, at the moment Bookcrossing uses the Amazon.com databases to pull up cover pictures for books: when you register a book, you have the option of entering its ISBN, and if the ISBN is found on Amazon.com, then the book’s cover will display on your bookshelf. Books published in the USA are much more likely to be in Amazon.com’s database, which means that most books I register don’t get cover pictures. However, a new ISBN lookup is currently being beta-tested which allows you to choose between Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.co.de (they’re looking at adding other Amazons later if those ones work out, but they were the most often requested). Which is great for me, because most of my books are published in the UK, so are on the Amazon.co.uk database, so suddenly I was getting cover pictures for my books! (The beta site and “live” site use the same Bookcrossing database, so if you’ve got access to the beta site then you can register books there, and they’ll show up on the live site) I was looking forward to taking advantage of that for registering my personal collection books, so that they’d all show up with pretty pictures (yes, it’s vanity, but who cares!), but I’d only managed to do four books when my wings expired, and I lost access to the beta site And it doesn’t look like the beta features will go live very quickly, because Bookcrossing’s lead programmer, Dan Clune, died recently, so the rest of the support team have got more urgent things on their hands than introducing new features. So it looks like I’ll have to scrape together some money to buy myself some new wings before I’ll be able to carry on with my registering project – and money is in its usual post-Christmas tight spot at the moment.
But on a positive note, I got a catch today! One of the books I left in the botanic gardens after our Bookcrossing picnic last month was caught… in Wanaka! Catches like that always make me so curious about what adventures the book had in between me releasing it and it being found.