What is it?

Bookcrossing is a movement that brings together book lovers from all over the world. Driven by a lofty ambition to turn the entire planet into a library, the initiative lets people read and exchange their books in a free, eco-friendly, and altruistic way. Here is how it works: participants drop off their books – ones they’ve already read or would simply like to save from dust – in public spaces or designated spots, be it a box, a shelf, or an open-air library, to be picked up by others who will read them and pass them on likewise, repeating the process indefinitely.

How did it appear? 

The movement, just like its name, comes from a website that was launched in 2001 by Ron Hornbaker and Bruce Pederson, former veterinarians, and Heather Pederson, a former business and marketing specialist. Together they created a platform that allows users to breathe new life into their books and track what happens to them next, just like ornithologists tag birds to study their population. Apart from that, the website lets users know which books are “in the wild” via widgets, a special book map, or a search engine, as well as communicate and leave their reviews. Today, the website is available in 16 languages, has almost 2 million users, and tracks nearly 14 million books all over the world.

More about bookcrossing

Bookcrossing is popular in Russia, too, and you can use the very same website or visit this one, if you know your bit of Russian. Yet this isn't the only right way to do it, you can also be an honest bookcrosser on your own. Whatever you choose, bookcrossing can easily become your hobby. This is an excellent way to discover your next favorite book, find a new temporary home for something you love, and simply share it with others without spending a dime. Moreover, the thrill of releasing and hunting turns this otherwise chill hobby into an exciting sport. Or you can even initiate it yourself – at your university, home, or workplace!

Credit: Kai Bossom (@enbaeshoots) via Unsplash

Credit: Kai Bossom (@enbaeshoots) via Unsplash

Bookcrossing spots in St. Pete 

Bookcrossing locations are spread out far and wide around Russia and St. Petersburg is no exception.

Around the city


  • Library, Lomonosova St. 9 – you won’t miss the bright yellow shelves in the university's coworking space on the 3rd floor;

  • ITMO dorm on Vyazemsky Ln. – the bookshelf you’re looking for is in the hall (to the right from the entrance).

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to check out our Unexplored St. Petersburg series and our roundup of the finest free and nearly free art galleries around the city.