I thought I'd plugged Bookcrossing.com here over the years, but just did a site search and couldn't find it... I think it's a great idea and a wonderful thing that books are in motion and getting read, and getting passed on from reader to reader. And I love the idea of just leaving a book on a bench for anyone to find.
I think I told the story here once of the Cleveland Plain Dealer Literary Dinner I attended in early 1999, along with two other authors, both of whom were on the NYTimes Bestseller list (back when I wasn't). After the dinner, we signed. Very soon I found myself listening to one of the famous bestselling authors as he started loudly chewing out a nice little old lady in his signing line for having bought her copies of his detective stories in a library sale, and he refused to sign them becaase he'd got no royalties on them. At which point I lost all respect for him, as did, I suspect, several of the ladies further back in his line, because they rather ostentatiously stepped out of his line and bought copies of Stardust and got into my signing line.
Booksales are booksales, readers are readers, and the two things aren't exactly the same. I'd rather look after my readers and let the booksales take care of themselves.
About making songs of authors' writing, I recently made a song of the last paragraph from Silverbergs' Dying Inside (http://hem.fyristorg.com/bkhl/elektrubadur/).
How would you feel if I were to do something like that to any of your prose work? (Royalities and suchlike aside.)
Actually, I just signed a contract with Dancing Ferret Records to do pretty much that -- they want to put out a CD of songs by various artists (not just people signed to their label) inspired by stuff I've written, using my words and so on. I've said yes, mostly because I'm looking forward to hearing what people come up with.