Seriously Entertaining Bookstore Bingo

Seriously Entertaining Bookstore Bingo

Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, CA, held a Community Open House and Spring Cleaning Sale on Sunday. They featured local authors as booksellers, live music, a storewide discount, and seriously entertaining bookstore bingo.

Seriously entertaining bookstore bingo? That hooked me.

“It’s sort of scavenger-hunt-style,” owner Christie Olson Day told me. “The squares include things like Take a Picture of Catsby (our cat) and Check-in on Facebook and Find the Greeting-card Grab-bag Table and Meet Author Norma Watkins or Meet Author John Fremont.”

Winners who completed a BINGO row won a Blind Date with a Book. “It’s a brown-wrapped ARC with 3 words describing it on the outside.”

Olson Day said that by combining Seriously Entertaining Bookstore Bingo, Blind Date with a Book, and Authors as Booksellers, the synergy between the three concepts

was excellent. They also used the Bingo game to begin the launch of their new membership program, with Ask about Membership and Join our Membership Program on two of the squares.

First Bingo Winners - Gallery Bookshop

Olson Day said Seriously Entertaining Bookstore Bingo was a great event, and they will definitely do it again. When they do, they’ll remember these key elements:

  • Secure charming prizes. Olson Day said that she liked the Blind Date with a Book prize, but felt other prizes could work as well.
  • Have someone–guest bookseller or staffer–dedicated to encouraging customers to participate.
  • Make many of the squares easy to complete to ensure a relatively high success rate.
  • When a customer turns in a completed card, have the staff enthusiastically yell, “BINGO.” Olson Day told me, “We didn’t plan this, but it rocks.”


Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay