Hunting Books Instead Of Pokemon? How Belgium Is Taking Their Love Of Books To The Next Level

Let’s face it—you probably love playing Pokemon Go. It’s like a cuter version of geocaching. But what if, instead of hunting for imaginary monsters, you were hunting for real, tangible books?

That’s what’s happening in Belgium, thanks to Aveline Gregoire, a primary school headmaster.

From Pokemon to Books

If you’ve ever stumbled upon a mini free lending library—usually a box attached to a post or sitting on the side of the road, full of books where you can leave one or take one like so many convenience store penny trays—this idea will feel like a hybrid of those little boxes of wonder mixed with the craze that has spread like wildfire throughout the smartphone-toting world.

According to Reuters, there were more than 40,000 people signed up to the Facebook group, Chasseurs de livres, which translates to “Book Hunters.” The game is currently confined to Facebook, but Gregoire is contemplating creating an app so that users can hunt for books a la Pokemon Go.

You might argue that part of the fun of the pocket monster treasure hunt is hatching new Pokemon and battling at gyms with friends and strangers alike. We can’t imagine how that might work with books, but the entertainment value once the app is closed would outweigh those missing features.

Another main difference between collecting books and collecting Pokemon is that once book hunters are finished reading a book, they’re supposed to “‘release’ it back into the wild,” Reuters reports.

Back in July, 2016, Pokemon Go had an estimated “9.5 million daily active users” in America. Imagine if even half of that number started using Gregoire’s version of the digital scavenger hunt.

Reuters may have reported that over 40,000 people are already signed up for Gregoire’s group, but as of this post, the number is crawling closer to 50,000.

Hunters of All Ages

Perhaps the best part of Gregoire’s Facebook group (and hopefully soon-to-be app) is that it’s user-friendly for all ages. The days of affirming one is an adult on social media despite hunting for cartoon pocket monsters may be at an end because books exist for children, young adults, and adults as much in the book hunt as they do in your local library.

What else might come of a book-hunting craze that sweeps pop culture like Pokemon Go?

  • Growth in literacy rates
  • Growth in the reading community
  • Growth in ability to imagine

According to DoSomething, in the American inmate population, over 70% are unable to read beyond a fourth-grade level and 25% of American children grow up without learning how to read. If book hunting as an app takes off like Gregoire’s Facebook group has, perhaps those numbers will shrink as reading becomes something of a game for young readers.

Connecting with fellow readers on social media through mutual interests in books can foster life-long friendships and expand our horizons, helping us connect with people we might otherwise have never met through shared experiences.

What do you think of a Pokemon Go esque reading app?

YouTube Channel: Top5Central


Featured image via Travelodge

h/t Reuters

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