I suggested a few days ago that libraries and bookstores would do well to make use of the fad for the new AR game Pokémon Go in attracting new patrons and customers. Publishers Weekly reports on some bookstores that have been doing exactly that.
Wild Detectives Bookstore in Dallas, TX notes that being right across the street from a Pokémon Gym is a boon for its location, as players often pop in for a coffee. Book Garden in Bountiful, UT is fortunate enough to be a Pokéstop itself, and has seen an increase in the numbers of families and groups coming in to hit the stop and then do a little browsing. Books & Games in Cambridge, MA reports a “slight uptick” in sales from using a lure on the store’s Pokéstop—an in-game purchase that turns Pokéstops into wild Pokémon attractors for half an hour.
Even bookstores that don’t have stops nearby are getting in on the excitement—Main Street Books in St. Charles, MO, is advertising itself as an “unofficial Pokéstop” and offering a discount on purchases for customers who can show them a screenshot of a Pokémon they caught within the store.
I checked with a nearby bookstore, Indy Reads Books, which is positioned close to two Pokéstops. The bookstore staffer I spoke to said they’d had a few Pokémon visitors, but not many. They had tweeted about it, however…
To whom this may concern: Mass Ave Is COVERED in Pokemon. Please come battle us. Please.
— Indy Reads Books (@indyreadsbooks) July 11, 2016
It’s also worth noting that not only local bookstores are getting in on the act. Entertainment superstore Hastings is running a promotion through July 18 where it will take 20% off an in-store purchase with a screenshot of a Pokémon caught in the store. (Hat tip to Dave Van Domelen for pointing that out to me.)
While not everyone is thrilled about the new influx of Pokémon Go players—particularly the operators of some museums and cemeteries—and a number of Pokémon Go players have been caught doing silly or dangerous things, the benefits for businesses that would like more people to stop in can be substantial. This is especially true for bookstores or libraries, which stand to gain from people stopping in without even knowing that they want something. The whole point is to get people in to browse the stacks, and these browsers will often discover something they hadn’t even known they wanted to read.