What is BookCrossing?

From the first book registered in the USA in 2001, BookCrossing has grown to attract almost 2 million members across the globe, who have registered nearly 11 million books and are based in 132 countries.

BookCrossing means many different things to different people, but at its heart it is the act of registering books and then setting them free to begin a journey around the world.

Registering a book on the BookCrossing website provides a unique ID number Bookcrossing stashwhich can be used to track the book’s travels. Each person who receives the book can make journal entries to share their experience and views with the rest of the BookCrossing community, including everyone who has held that book before.

When someone is ready to pass a book on they can either ‘release it to the wild’ (by leaving it anywhere from a shopping centre to the top of a mountain) or make a ‘controlled release’ by handing or sending it to a named individual. There is also the chance to support local businesses (cafes etc) by having Official BookCrossing Zones (OBCZs) where books can be left and taken whilst giving people the opportunity to take an entirely optional break in that location.

Bookcrossing wild releaseBookCrossing has become much more than just registering and releasing books and now encompasses everything from competition releases, sweepstakes and secret parcel swaps to local, national and international meet-ups. This is where the UK Unconvention comes in.

What is the UK Unconvention?

An international BookCrossing Convention is held every year and attracts BookCrossers from around the world. The UK Unconvention was originally set up as an alternative for those who, for whatever reason, were unable to attend the international event.

Several years on, the UK Unconvention is a big event in its own right, attracting both UK and overseas BookCrossers. Historically held around the same time as the main Convention, in 2010 the Unconvention moved to early Autumn due to the international event taking place in nearby Amsterdam.

The 2010 Unconvention in Swindon was such a big hit that we had another Autumn Unconvention in 2011 in Nottingham followed by the Colchester Unconvention in 2012. 2013 saw the Unconvention move to Leeds.  There was no Unconvention in 2014 to allow for preparation for the International Convention to be held in 2015 in Oxford.

The Unconvention has been held in Birmingham before, in the mid-noughties, and is therefore “coming back” to a city that has seen immense change in the years since the last Unconvention here.

What happens at the Unconvention?

The Unconvention takes place over a long weekend, from registration on Friday afternoon to the traditional closing with a release walk before lunch on Sunday.

NB: because of the proximity of the Conservative party conference in the city centre, we are having to be a little creative about releasing this year!

Book Buffet TableSharing books is one of the key themes of any BookCrossing event and the Unconvention allows people to do this via bookswap games, Not So Secret (secret santa style) parcel swaps, gifts for other attendees, release events and a massive book buffet table.

Author talks are arranged, allowing BookCrossers to meet the writers of some of their favourite works, or learn more about authors whose books they haven’t tried before.

In addition, there are many other activities including competitions and quizzes, with a number of unique events at each Unconvention along the way.

And last but not least, there’s the all-important chance to meet other BookCrossers – some of whom may be old faces and others who may have only been ‘met’ online in the past.

The UK Unconvention is a fantastic social event for anyone with a love of books – and if you’ve read this far, then we hope to see you there in 2016!

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