As Pokemon Go continues to take over social media and gamers’ lives–in all the best ways, of course–industrious authors and booksellers alike have found ways to capitalize on the game’s popularity and online clickability in order to entice new customers to give them a look.
Some explanations for the game have compared Pokemon Go to geocaching, in that both activities rely on users going out into public spaces to find hidden objects. In the case of geocaching, though, almost all of the hidden objects actually exist. For game devotees, part of the fun is in never knowing where the virtual creature will appear.
That “never knowing” feature is what hopeful retailers are counting on, employing book promotions and internet sales around the possibility of a rare creature popping up. And it’s not just the good luck of having your bookstore situated in the vicinity of a Pokestop or Pokegym. Some booksellers are offering significant in-store savings to customers who capture a Pokemon in their shops, a brilliant tactic for getting customers to come in and browse.
Unfortunately, this is one of those phenomena that booksellers (whether shops or individual authors) can either embrace or dismiss. Some sellers have already claimed there’s no connection between the people “loitering” around their store entrances and book sales, but it would seem logical that those are sellers who are failing at reaching out to potential customers. Other shops, like Main Street Books, spoke to Publisher’s Weekly about their highly creative efforts to bring in customers through Pokemon Go.
As with any worldwide craze, capitalizing on a trend that comes with its own built-in marketing push can translate into dollar signs, no matter how big or small the seller. The real trick will be making sure the connection is not only genuine, but lasting…so that the book-buying habit doesn’t get tossed aside when the craze is over.