A Bookish Notion

My good friend Jim Kitchen, late of Games Workshop US, came up with a great idea today: Gamers should donate games and novels to their local libraries.

Many of us got started on our lifelong love of genre fiction (whether in movies, novels, games, or something else) in our local library. I know I went to mine every week to read everything I could find on the shelves. Many libraries, though, have what might charitably be called “a good start, if that” when it comes to fiction or game books from the adventure gaming industry.

One way to solve this problem would be for gamers to donate such books to their local libraries. This allows you to not only support your favorite games or books and your local library but also to hopefully get more people interested in such products.

The trick, of course, is that most libraries aren’t interested in your battered, well-loved DMG. They want new products in pristine shape. Their members will give the books enough abuse without them already having a head start.

So, Jim suggests, why don’t the companies allow gamers to buy games and novels from their favorite publishers at some sort of discount to encourage such donations? (He suggests the standard retailer discount of roughly 50%.) To make sure that unscrupulous souls don’t just use this as an excuse to order their own games at steep discounts, the company would ship the products directly to the library.

If I was running a company, I’d be all over this idea. Not only do you get your best fans to buy your books again, but they also then give them to a good cause, to a place where loads of people can see and enjoy them and maybe get hooked on your products. As long as you trust that there aren’t a passel of ethically challenged gamer-librarians out there trying to bleed you dry, there doesn’t seem to be a downside to this.

Of course, I’m often not as right as I’d like to be. I’d love to hear some feedback on this. Hit that “comment” button hard.