Read and Release at

Sunday, June 06, 2004

The San Antonio Wheelbarrow
BookCrossing Wheelbarrow Madness took over local BookCrossers in San Antonio, TX on Memorial Day weekend as they braved 104 degree heat and strange looks from those unversed in the joys of BookCrossing...

First-Noel, who I met in St. Louis for the First BookCrossing Convention, along with some other faithful BookCrossers, dug on the wheelbarrow motif and hauled out a whole slew of books, some wheelbarrows, and their goodwill and did a mass BookCrossing release ala thewheelbarrow. Here are the LiveJournal entries First-Noel wrote and the link to their pictures:

  • May. 31st, 2004 @ 12:47 am
    Ok, I'm finally done registering, journaling, labeling, and releasing all the damn books for this weekends Wheelbarrow.

    FYI: San Antonio Bookcrossers are meeting this Memorial Day in Espada Park. There we will have two wheelbarrows. One for kids books and one for adult books. These are free for anyone to take and all registered at bookcrossing.

    Q: How many books are you freaks releasing?
    Well, I'm glad you asked. Currently the hunting pages count is 474. But I'm still receiving release alerts from others of our freakish clan.

    Q: Well, How many did YOU release, you big shot you?
    Well, if you're going to be a shit about it, I don't think I should tell you. But since I'm sure others are curious I'll go ahead. I personally released 172. thankyouverymuch.

    Q: Hey, how can we join in?
    Meet us at Espada Park. Around 1:00 PM on Memorial Day. Keep looking. When you see about 13 geeks gathered around a couple of wheelbarrows you've found us. :0)

    Q: Will there be beer?
    hmmmmmm probably not. It's supposed to be about 103 tomorrow. Beer dehydrates. Seriously, how can you idiots drink in this type of weather?

    Q: What are you wearing right now?
    None of your damn business you pervert.

    ~ First-Noel

  • May. 31st, 2004 @ 04:28 pm
    I had to leave early. Everytime I got out in the sun I got nausious and dizzy. I'm really prone to passing out in the heat. :0(

    But I left a bunch of other bookcrossers there with the remainders. I was there about 3 hours and a good 1/2 of the books walked off. It was great to see all the kids that just dove in and were so happy to find something they wanted to read.

    I hope I don't leave anyone out but bookcrossers that were there; Warren, BenjiWolf, Chocaholic, Flyinfox, Keyboardkid, Synergy, Morphy, PaigeTurner124, Chattergirl, Muinteoir, me (first-noel). Plus a couple of friends, husbands and kids. When I left Morphy and friend were firing up the BBQ, Paigeturner124 was still labeling books and her daughter was playing on her laptop. And of course there was a crowd around the books.

    At first I thought it was going to tank becuase no one was there. The park itself was blocked off becuase of construction but a small area was still open. Then, slowly, people started showing up. And we were over run. I'm pretty sure we'll get some journals. Not many I'm sure but some. I'm keeping my fingers crosses.

    BTW, check out the hunting page now. We're over 600. All those left over will be put on a new San Antonio Bookcrossers shelf (as soon as it's set up) and saved for another project.

    ~ First-Noel

  • The San Antonio Wheelbarrow Pictures

    :wheeled in by a BookCrosser:2:30 PM: :
  • Read and Release at

    Wednesday, April 21, 2004

    And One for the Gipper!

    I cannot believe this is the only picture I have of myself from Convention. I made this goofy collage as part of a journal entry for Grover3d and it's the only picture of me that I have that was actually taken at Convention! I don't look anything like that drawing, it just seemed like a funny thing to do for the journal. I am very much beginning to show the signs of the sense of goofiness my Grandma used to have!
    :wheeled in by a BookCrosser:1:53 AM: :

    Read and Release at The People Who Made It All Possible

    Ron and Bruce

    Bruce and Heather

    :wheeled in by a BookCrosser:1:48 AM: :

    Read and Release at Attendees, again...

    I apologize in advance for the poor quailty of these photos. There were taken with a Polaroid I-Zone and immediately glued into a book. They're not so great, but you at least get an idea of who everyone is!




    Daughter & Mother Canadian duo, Miss-Efficiency and Nelle





    solittletime, GoryDetails, marinaw

    The Stemmler Bros, Techie Team for the BC Convention
    l-r: Michael and Lou (Lou said he was going to become a BCer because he was so intrigued by the Convention; he and the booksleuth talked bookshop for awhile over lunch)

    Sonora's husband and Jack of All Trades, Voyager

    :wheeled in by a BookCrosser:1:46 AM: :

    Read and Release at Attendees


    the booksleuth
    (in red, with Shen to the left and mysterylady36 to the right)

    Doug T., the booksleuth's










    TracyShannon and Grover3d



    dragonwriter and LilSadie


    :wheeled in by a BookCrosser:1:22 AM: :

    Read and Release at Another Round of Convention Photos

    Table at the Entry to the Convention Meeting Room
    (click on image above for larger version)

    Ron's Presentation at the BookCrossing Convention Is Recorded by NPR
    (click on image above for larger version)

    4libros Shows How to "Dress" a Book for Release
    (click on image above for larger version)

    :wheeled in by a BookCrosser:1:18 AM: :

    Read and Release at

    Tuesday, April 20, 2004

    Just a Few BookCrossers

    4libros with Her BookCrossing Kiddoes, LilSadie & dragonwriter
    (click on the image above for a larger version)

    solittletime Listens to Sonora Being Interviewed
    for a Local Newspaper Article About BookCrossing

    (click on the image above for a larger version)

    Sonora and somanybookso
    (click on the image above for a larger version)

    (click on the image above for a larger version)

    (click on image for larger version)

    I have some additional photos to scan that were taken with a Polaroid at Convention. I think I got everyone who attended, with the possible exception of anyone who came on Sunday but not Saturday. It may take me a little time, but I will post as I get pictures scanned and hosted.

    What a great treat to meet everyone who came to this very first Convention! I can hardly wait til the next one and hope more people will have a chance to come to Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX. Yeehaw!
    :wheeled in by a BookCrosser:6:46 PM: :

    Read and Release at Convention Photos & a Little Commentary to Boot

    A Rapt Group of BookCrossers Listening to the Wisdom of 4libros & Her Release Techniques
    (click the image above for a larger version)

    Front row, left to right: the booksleuth, FreeThe Books, 4libros (back to us with the lovely French braid!), WhiteRaven13, Portias, independencemo

    Second row, left to right: Bruce (BC), Heather (BC), mojosmom, somanybookso, GoryDetails, Mackinac, First-Noel

    Third row, left to right: jfroebe, Tzurriz, Shendoah, Nelle, Miss-Efficiency, solittletime

    Last row, left to right: comfie-cricket, nyisutter (hidden behind Shen!), Karen (TooFar Publishing), puppetlady, Peregrin, Kayote (in the WAYYYYYY back), dragonwriter, LilSadie

    BC Founders Thank the Convention Helpers
    4libros, Sonora, puppetlady, Ron, Heather, Grover3d, and Bruce

    (click on the image above for a larger version)

    BC Founders Thank the Convention Helpers
    4libros, Sonora, puppetlady, Ron

    (click on the image above for a larger version)

    Rich Shapero, Author of Wild Animus, Interviewed by Ron Hornbaker
    (click on the image above for a larger version)

    I am not an avid participant on the BC forums, so I have not kept track at all of the brouhaha surrounding the coalition between BookCrossing and TooFar Publishing. Apparently there were/are some quite strong feelings about Rich Shapero's book, Wild Animus and the alliance that was struck up between BC & TooFar. I won't go into it here simply because I'm not "up" on the whole shmiel. But I'll offer up a few of observations that came out of the session with Rich Shapero and the Q&A session with the BC Founders later that night:

  • BookCrossing's running expenses total about $28,000+/- per month
  • There are 4 people who: manage, market, engineer, hold down the fort, execute, design, answer emails, handle crashing servers, take orders, handle phone calls, package orders, deal with the USPS when orders are lost, deal with crabby BCers, commission new artwork for labels, think up new & innovative ideas to keep the whole thing afloat (I've left out about 8 million other things Ron, Bruce, Heather & Caroline do, but I guess ya'll get the picture).
  • There is now a 5th person who assists Ron with the web/techie end of BC to alleviate some of the pressure from him so he can join in on things like BookCrossing Conventions and meet his "fans" and not worry that the whole website will crash into the dark chasm of web hell.
  • A lot of the personal assets of Ron, Bruce & Heather were sunk into BookCrossing.
  • The current running expenses of $28,000+/- per month are finally being covered by the sale of BC merchandise, most of which is sold to new members, not existing members.
  • Loan payments are, as yet, not able to be covered by monies coming in which means Ron, Bruce & Heather are floating BC on their own funds.
  • Bruce & Heather have not been paid a salary since the intiation of BookCrossing 3 years ago.
  • BookCrossing has got to start to become a business viable on its own legs in order for BookCrossing to remain the website we all know & love.

    I was stunned at how much blood, sweat & tears these amazing people have put into BookCrossing. Yes, from the start, they've called it a Labor of Love. And there are many of us who would offer whatever services we could in a heartbeat to help out Ron, Bruce, Heather & Caroline (many offers of web assistance were made during the Convention by attendees, but I know the sentiment is not limited to just the people who were in St. Louis). But the bottom line is BookCrossing will not be held up on charity. And if it continues to grow in the numbers and with the speed being projected, the site and the work involved in accomodating our BookCrossing obsession cannot be sustained by 4 or 5 people. It must be run as a business. There need to be concessions. Decisions will be have to be made to either keep BookCrossing alive or let it fade away, due almost entirely to money issues. But honestly, I can't see any of the 3 people I met from BookCrossing letting their venture "fade away." It does not seem to be within their genetic make-up to allow that to happen. This, to me, is evidenced in the fact that BookCrossing made the decision to partner with TooFar and Rich Shapero.

    What is the price of such a partnership? There were a great many opinions formed by BookCrossers about the preferential treatment Mr. Shapero, Wild Animus, and TooFar received on BookCrossing as well as about the content of the novel and the motives of the author/publisher; some cared, some didn't. Again, I don't participate in the forums, but I read the threads after listening to what was said at the Convention. It was all quite interesting to read, and many posts on the threads, on both sides of the argumentative fence, were very well articulated.

    All of the "stinkeroo"ness (stolen from a post by a BookCrosser!) aside, I would venture to say that the obvious reason Shapero & TooFar got involved with BookCrossing is because BC needs cash and the founders of BookCrossing do not want to ask members for such cash. Ron was quite emphatic about that when he spoke at Convention. His only concession was if members voluntarily paid fees for "extended features" or "goodies" but by no means did he want to charge membership fees. Ron, Heather & Bruce were almost desperate in what they had to say and in how they listened to what was said by attendees to not cause strife within the ranks of their adoring BookCrossing public. They are caught between the Scylla and the Charibides of running a Labor of Love and a Business. How does the twain then join? Again, what price is paid, what risk is taken? BCers rebel against a poorly written novel (I started reading Wild Animus; I cleared my throat and sallied forth...I will have to chew this one in the same manner one must chew an elephant til consumed...); Ron, Bruce and Heather rebel against the costs of running a Labor of Love. How does this dilemma resolve itself?

    I look at myself, I read through the posts of BCers who wanted to attend Convention but couldn't because of the issue of money. We are, for the most part, a community of church mice! Not all, but many of us. A lot of us came to BookCrossing because the idea of it appealed to our sense of idealism, our sense of Big Picture-ness, our loyalty to the idea that with enough "love" and "passion" all things are possible. We defend BookCrossing fiercely, even against the one thing that may be its saving grace. An author writes a book, starts a publishing company, pays a struggling website some cash to promote his book. There is an exchange. All hell breaks loose. There is no right nor is there wrong.

    How do we help this thing we love?
    How do we promote an operation on the side of black rather than red?
    How do we get a positive cash flow?
    How do we?
    :wheeled in by a BookCrosser:6:29 PM: :
  • Read and Release at BookCrossing Convention Photos

    BookCrossers Chit Chat at the Holiday Inn Lounge on the First Night
    (click image above for larger version)

    Left row (against wall with mirror), front to back: Mackinac, Marinaw, Sonora, Voyager, solittletime, Miss-Efficiency, Nelle, 4libros

    Middle row, front to back: somanybookso, mojosmom (just her back!), Gory Details, Peregrin, dragonwriter

    Far right (facing mojosmom): Tzurriz (the people behind Tzurriz weren't with our group)

    Ron's PowerPoint Presentation: A Short Timeline of BookCrossing
    (click image above for larger version)

    Ron's PowerPoint Presentation: The Future of BookCrossing
    (click image above for larger version)

    :wheeled in by a BookCrosser:1:54 AM: :

    Read and Release at First Annual BookCrossing Convention - St. Louis

    It has been months since I've been on here to update. Mostly because I haven't had much to relate as far as thewheelbarrow is concerned. But I actually made it to the first annual BookCrossing Convention that was held April 16 - 18, 2004 in St. Louis, MO. I was there for business during the majority of the week and extended my stay so I could make this historical event! I am not an active BookCrossing forums' poster, so I didn't know any of the BCers' on-line personas, but perhaps that was better in some respects! There isn't, then, the tendency to want to judge people before knowing them in their entirety.

    Ron Hornbaker and Bruce & Heather Pedersen managed to make it to the Convention. Which, if you think about it, is quite a feat considering they are 3 of the 4 people running the entire works. Ron lives in Missouri, Bruce and Heather flew in from Idaho. They are the lifeblood and -air of BookCrossing and they are hanging on by the edges of their fingernails to keep the whole thing afloat

    I got the chance to show thewheelbarrow movie, for which I am very grateful because BookCrossers are the only people I know who can really comprehend the movie for all of its goofisms and BookCrossing glory. It's always a joy to realize that people think the idea of a wheelbarrow is a dandy. This summer SGinger, Dave & I will have to get back out there with the ole 'barrow and release some more books...
    :wheeled in by a BookCrosser:1:08 AM: :


    © 2003-2004 the wheelbarrow project
    contact: thewheelbarrowATemailDOTcom



    the travels & travails of a lowly wheelbarrow filled with books

    the wheelbarrow is an entity created by me, Abott, and my friend SGinger as a result of coming across, quite by accident, the website We're doing a less-than-amateur film project with some people from our town. This is the nascent stage of our idea for our film project. I came across BookCrossing in a blog I was reading a week or so ago. The idea tickled my fancy to no end. I had been thinking of doing a film project called Why I Write in which I would interview people I knew who were writers or aspiring writers and ask them why they write. The idea was solid, and inspired almost in whole by Jonathan Franzen's book of essays How To Be Alone. The other inspiration was my grandma, who, at the age of 85, was an unpublished author who bequeathed her book into my care to hopefully one day publish. The book that grandma gave me is especially symbolic because her death on the morning of 6 August 2003 has made the idea of immortalizing her something akin to a crusade. The intent behind the original film project of Why I Write was an excuse on my part to interview & film grandma before her death. I was unable to film or interview her because the series of strokes she had before her death made understanding her speech extremely difficult.

    The evolution of Why I Write into a film project based on BookCrossing came about when I realized that for me, reading has always been a primary function of my life whereas writing has always been secondary. This insight, of writing being a natural continuation of having been a reader my entire life, prompted a shift from the focus of the film being about writing and turned it into a project based first on reading. And what better way to see into the secret life and desires of readers than to hook into something like BookCrossing? Whereby a person would be inclined, whether by curiousity or a foreknowledge of BookCrossing, to pick up a book - off a park bench, in a laundromat, in a movie theater, on a coffee shop countertop? Capturing that moment on film, the release and the subsequent catch, is the idea that fired me into registering on BookCrossing and rallying my friends to get involved.

    The wheelbarrow project came about after a lengthy conversation between SGinger, a friend of hers who was visiting for the day, my mother and my sister. We were trying to brainstorm ideas for release locations. I started laughing as a silly idea occurred to me. "Wouldn't it be hilarious to just fill up an old wheelbarrow with books to be released and leave it on some random streetcorner somewhere?" We all ho-ho-hoed for a bit, imagining leaving it in the Financial District in San Francisco where besuited business folk would walk around and ignore it. But then the more we talked about it, the more we realized that this could be a really great idea. A traveling BookCrossing Cross Zone, never the same location twice, but conspicuous by it's very out-of-placeness. A wheelbarrow filled with books where you least expect to find them. Hmmm. And there the idea was born for the wheelbarrow.

    My grandma is undeniably the most significant person to shape my appreciation & passion for the arts & humanities, reading & writing, quirkiness & outside-the-boxness. Without grandma's influence, my world would have been considerably less colorful, the sharpness of every artistic sensibility dulled by not having had grandma's imprint, the thumbpress of her sensitivity, stamped firmly into my heart and my soul. The film project and the resulting wheelbarrow project are both labors of love influenced by the heartbreaking loss I feel at the death of a grandmother whose existence I cannot imagine no longer being a part of this world.

    If you found a book that is part of the wheelbarrow project, are interested in knowing more about the wheelbarrow project, have books you'd like to donate to the wheelbarrow project, or anything else having to do with the wheelbarrow project, please feel free to email thewheelbarrowATemailDOTcom. If you have comments to add to this page that you would like to post, there is a commenting feature at the bottom of each post which can be accessed by clicking where it says empty ole wheelbarrow. If there is already a comment, it will say 1 comment in the wheelbarrow. Your comments are always welcome!

    my book crossing name: thewheelbarrow

    Book Donors' Thank You Corner
    (Books to Date: 931)
  • Lucy Usher
  • Jill Kamahele
  • Haili Kamahele
  • The Cuff Family
  • Gloria
  • Natalie Conforti
  • David Botton
  • Beth-Marie Deenihan
  • Sonoma Valley Community Church
  • Stacy Smith
  • Glenda Klaucke
  • Virgina Alexander
  • Ellen Caccia
  • Jackie Madison
  • auntyMEL
  • The Walkers
  • Elizabeth Heine
  • The Roses
  • Brian Feutz
  • Jeffrey Johnson
  • Friends of the Library
  • And anonymous donors...
  • links

  • Also visit the Canadian wheelbarrow project started by paixful
  • My Book Wish List
  • bookcrossing

  • Film Festival Poster

    time machine