(Not So) Quick Question

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I have a question: How long does it usually take for one of your books to be caught? 2 weeks? A few months? I am a fairly new BCer (I joined in March) and I just released my first book so naturally I am wondering how long it will take for someone to pick it up, or if it will be picked up at all: maybe someone threw it away. It's a hardcover though, and for some reason I think it is less likely to be thrown away than a paperback. Is this true? Thanks for your help!

P.S: I just realized this thread's title was incorrect: my question wasn't very quick at all! :)


This question turns up a lot - see older threads in this forum and in Newbies - but the answer's the same: you never know! Just this week I've seen posts in Site Watch of books caught and journaled before the releaser could get home and make release notes, and of books journaled over a decade after they were released. [That last may not seem reassuring - nobody wants to have to wait years for a catch! - but it does mean that the books are still out there, sometimes stashed under a bed and forgotten, sometimes being read by folks uninterested in going online.]

If you made sure to label your books clearly, with the correct BCID, that'll help. We don't know how many catches have been missed because someone transposed digits when writing the BCID on the label. But even with all the best labeling, encouraging notes-to-the-finder, tempting titles, and scenic release locations, books may not be heard from for some time.

So try and enjoy the whole process - reading the books in the first place, looking for good release spots, walking away from the newly-freed books, and planning the next releases. With luck, the catches will show up, often when you least expect it - and frequently on the books you'd have thought the least likely to catch someone's eye...


am wondering how long it will take for someone to pick it up,

Anywhere from right away to never. My guess is that most books get picked up. But whether they get journaled or not is another question.

Only a smallish percentage of released books get journaled, and thus "caught" by our definition, but that's what makes this interesting.

If every book you released every where got caught every time there would be no mystery, no suspense, no intrigue to BookCrossing. And though I wish I would get more catches, as they are always fun, it is interesting to me to wonder which book, left at which place, at which time, will be the one I hear back from, and what the finder will think of it. It's serendipity really. Sometimes that journal entry can surprise you years and years later.

I release books hoping that someone will find them and enjoy them, the catches are the icing on the cake. I even release in spots that I'm unlikely to get a journal entry, like a retirement home where most of the oldies don't use the computer, or at a food pantry where most may not have easy access to one, because I know folks there will enjoy getting the books.

So try to enjoy the process of releasing books and not worry about whether you will hear back from this one. Set them free. It will make BookCrossing more relaxed and enjoyable. And of course, the more well-labeled books you release, the more likely you are to get a catch.

[And don't, in your labeling or online notes ask people to "register" the book, that will give the book a new number and you won't hear back from it again. Be sure to ask them to journal the book, not register. You've already registered it.]

Good luck!


released in the wild............5,475
releases caught........................873


Readermax 2 yrs ago


My 2 cents' worth: my first release was on Jan. 14, 2003 & that book was journalled on Jan. 19, 2003 - and that's the last I ever heard of it :o)

Many books have never been caught; just disappeared. Some were journalled years later. You never know! Hope you are enjoying the process of registering, composing the first journal entry for your book, planning a good release spot, etc. That's really the most fun part of BookCrossing. Good luck!


I got three catches in two days from my International BC Day releases:


Of those, two of the three were released in bags, hanging at eye-level (one from a tree, one from a fence), and the third was on a bench at a scenic location. Whether those were factors in the catches I don't know, but it does tie in to the "unusual location == more interest" theory of wild catches. (It's also fun to find spots like that, which is mainly why I do this!)




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