Reader’s Advisory For Gamers

Corvallis-Benton County Public Library has a GREAT booklist titled, Books for Gamers, online at Their list offers passive reader’s advisory for fans of action, sports, puzzle, and music games, as well as others. My own handout on reader’s advisory to gamers is posted online at

Another great passive way to deliver reader’s advisory is to create a “Read the Book? Play the Game!” display. Don’t forget to pull tie-ins in all formats – video, soundtrack, manga, and more!

The successful reader’s advisory transactions do not start with, “I loved this book, and you will too.” It’s more reference interview than recommendation. Games have plot, story, setting, theme, character and genre, and librarians can offer reading suggestions by asking patrons what games they like to play.

If the title the patron offers is unfamiliar, ask for details. What is the game about? What’s your favorite thing about the game? From those responses, you can get a sense of genre and other elements, and then look for books with similar elements.

People play specific games for all types of reasons. Someone who loves Madden football may enjoy the sports play, but also the color commentary, the story element, or simply the competition. Someone who loves to play the Sims may enjoy the building, while someone else prefers the interior decorating, while someone else likes the character control. Thus, many types of stories may appeal. Just like with reading, a gamer plays a game and brings his or her own lens of experience to it, and takes away something different.

When advocating to staff about gaming, using Reader’s Advisory for Gamers is a great exercise. Here’s how! A handout for this exercise is archived on the Infopeople website at

  1. Do the first example as a group. Scenario: if a patron likes to play World of Warcraft (an online game much like Dungeons and Dragons, with a fantasy element, magic, good versus evil theme); what book titles, authors, and series might interest that patron?
  2. Discuss elements of the game, and ways people play it (straightforward questing, Player vs player battle, games like capture the flag, social or instructional (guild chat), treasure seeking (dungeon runs), roleplaying, creating machinima, raiding, crafting (mining, jewelry making, leatherwork, tailoring and more) and/or skills (first aid, fishing, cooking, etc).
  3. Finally, we create a list of books that might appeal.
  4. We break into smaller groups, and each group is assigned a genre.
  5. They are given a few game titles, and a few “readalikes” and work as a team to complete the sheets.

How are YOU doing reader’s advisory to gamers? Provide examples in the comments, or send links to your booklists or photos of your readalikes display!