E-books have settled down in the book market for good, taking over part of the readers’ market. Nonetheless, gloomy prophecies foretelling the decline of the traditional book didn’t prove to be true. Quite the opposite.

The printed book is doing very well, and instead of being superseded by e-books, it has attracted innovative technologies and invited them to the world of print. Consequently, that traditional medium got a new life! People love traditional books – their tangibility, analog character, easy companionship, artwork, or even smell. The most recent studies indicate that reading printed books is more developing and absorbing for the brain than reading texts in a digital form. The reason is simple.

The printed medium will never be completely forgotten. It is simply practical, needed and, surprisingly, long lasting, (digital formats are constantly changing, whereas books last ages). So, why should we resign from their traditional character?

One feature that cannot be denied about the modern media is interactivity.

Due to that readers can see or hear for themselves what they read about. Furthermore, they gain access to the greater knowledge by expanding the information contained in the book. Traditional print, due to its material restrictions, can convey only a limited number of facts. Enriching the print with digital solutions significantly broadens the boundaries of cognition.

“Click” on the book to find out more…

Such were the assumptions of a British company called Bare Conductive, the creators of special ink that conducts electricity (conductive ink). That special type of ink is equipped with graphite or silver nanoparticles. In a straightforward way, it enables us to play back sounds or illuminations, which enriches the reader’s sensations.

The author of the book combines particular words or phrases with a mini speaker or diode hidden on the pages of the book. In this way, the reader is provided with additional information or put in a certain mood. This kind of book can also be connected via USB cable or Bluetooth to a computer or mobile device. By so doing, additional information for the selected parts of the text is displayed. Another quite popular trick in such ‘touch screen’ books is the use of thermal paper, which is sensitive to certain temperatures and, in some cases, can reveal additional information.

A case in point here is a Polish campaign, in which homeless people wrote a book that could be read only in freezing cold temperatures (the content could appear only then). This allowed the reader to fully empathise with people who must fight for survival every winter.

…Or just ask the book a question

The authors of the application called Booke, which is popular on the American market, didn’t want to improve the traditional print, but instead decided to use the information contained in the digital versions of books from the Amazon catalog. Due to that, the reader could fully enjoy the traditional version of a book, and simultaneously use the advantages of the digital world – e.g. by looking up certain words, creating bookmarks for selected pages or sharing fragments of publications on social media. All you need is a smartphone or iPad with a suitable app and the reader’s voice message.

Make use of Augmented Reality

A very popular solution and a way of enriching the reader’s sensations is using the Augmented Reality technology in printed books. It works out particularly well in books with illustrations or photos when placing a smartphone or tablet on a given page, the reader can enliven the graphics by moving 3D animations and gain an additional context by revealing the unknown so far information. Such solutions are welcome by e.g. Dawn Publications producing books for children, i.e. 3D Pop-up books.

Nimble by Google is an exceptional project enriching the reader’s sensations. It was designed especially for readers and libraries. Augmented reality, in this case, assumes the form of something like an interactive table. A book, when placed on that table, gets additional contexts. The reader can translate selected fragments, copy, or memorize them in the form of digital files. Fujitsu Technologies also tests such solutions.

It’s Finger Link is a gesture-sensitive touch-screen table. Due to the developed form of augmented reality and specially devised gestures, it allows entering the digital interaction with given text fragments and photos of the printed book. Fujitsu Technologies also tests such solutions. It’s Finger Link is a gesture-sensitive touch-screen table. Due to the developed form of augmented reality and specially devised gestures, it allows entering the digital interaction with given text fragments and photos of the printed book.

Swap your book for a film or interactive touch-screen panel

When looking for new forms of expression in using mobile applications in the book, publishers reached for a solution where a smartphone or tablet finds its way directly into the middle of the book in a special open window. When turning the subsequent pages of the book, the screen of the mobile device gains a new context directly connected with the environment, displays graphics or videos, or even encourages to interact by clicking on the screen.

That widget is frequently used in children’s books, which perfectly interact with pictures. However, it can also be a perfect idea for company promotion. Using the book entitled “The Next Ten”, Accenture company promoted its 10 years on the market.

A book is an exceptional form of promotion

Allegro in its campaign created for the needs of the book entitled “The Old Axolotl” showed that a digital book can be promoted in an interesting and intriguing way in digital media. That science fiction novel by Jack Dukaj was published in the form of an e-book only. It was enriched by tens of clickable fields with additional layers of text, illustrations by the prestigious Platige Image studio, and 3D robot models designed by the maker of the film entitled Transformers. And if we look at it in a different way, can we successfully promote traditional books using modern media? Certainly, yes!

The campaign named “Decoded” promoting the autobiography of Jay-Z, a famous rapper, and businessperson is a case in point. The actual book pages were placed in the real locations connected with the context of the story e.g. New York subway, basketball court or on a limited-edition Gucci jacket. Collaboration with Bing, a search engine from Microsoft, allowed fans worldwide to search for excerpts of the book on virtual maps and put the book together online page by page, even before it was published. The campaign reverberated in the whole marketing branch.

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