I thought you might have some pre-conceived notions of what the Book Thing looks like, sort of a combination of the book store in Notting Hill and the local Borders... but it's the polar opposite of both. A few years ago, they relocated from the basement of an old townhouse in mid-town to an unheated and uncooled warehouse in a semi-sketchy section of Baltimore.
There's a drop-off point where the books are taken in and reviewed. They end up selling about .02% of the books they're given, usually first editions and rare books, and the income from the sales provides operating cash for the operation. To prevent other people from selling the free books, they're all stamped "This is a Free Book. Not for sale".
Bookshelves line all of the walls, and in the main section of the warehouse, there are long rows of shelves. The books are categorized according to very broad guidelines and the Dewey Decimal System is non-existent! Titles and authors are not alphabetized, so if you're looking for a specific biography or law book, you have to search through every title.
It is the randomness of it that makes it all the more fun. You can't go in looking for something specific, you just take what you find.
The Book Thing - it's a good thing!