As bookstores and the printing industry continue to compete with e-books and e-readers, one publishing company has come up with an alternative strategy by using new media to their advantage. Atria will publish the first print book to be outfitted with a smart chip, one that is read by smartphones and will offer additional information and sales on the device.
Dubbed the ‘smart book,’ Atria is emerging with a concept that continues to gain steam in our society: bar codes and chips are available in a variety of stores, including supermarkets, where consumers can use their mobile devices to scan and download information instantaneously. In this case, Atria has incorporated just a few additions, offering users supplementary reading material should you scan the chip.
“The reader can tap to rich interactive content on their phone, Judith Curr, in a statement. “The goal is to engage the consumer and start a permission-based two-way relationship that may lead to the sale of this book or further sales in this category of interest.”
The book, naturally, is “The Impulse Economy: Understanding Mobile Shoppers and What Makes Tem Buy” by Gary Schwartz. While the added ‘smart’ value isn’t particularly vast, the potential for other books and publishers is.
Currently the chip is used for marketing, as another way to convince a shopper to buy the book. It should, however, offer potential readers something extra that they can’t get with just the physical tome. That is, instead of enhancing the marketing aspect of the book, it should enhance the actual content.
At the same time, it would be unwise for a publisher to add content to a smart chip that was pertinent to the story—it would be tricky for some who cannot or do not want to use a smartphone when reading a book. For someone buying the inaugural smart-book, one that deals with mobile shoppers, it is assumed they will have the compatible technology. However, to expand this idea, publishers will have offer enhanced content that is optional, but still doesn’t detract from the desire to sit down and read a physical book. So what to do?
For example, let’s take a look at the highly popular culture phenomenon that is Steig Larsson’s Millenium Series. Now, the trilogy is absolutely fantastic the way it is—deeply engrossing with compelling characters and plenty of intrigue. Parts of the story deal with the heroine Lisbeth sending and receiving emails and messages—what if you could receive those on your phone? What if, instead of reading the emails in the book, you could read them as an actual email on your phone? What is you received the cryptic messages from Plague? What if you could open up the actual documents that contain Lisbeth’s medical records?
This doesn’t change the book at all, but could add to the experience of reading a fictional book. For non-fiction, of course, chips can simply direct you to further reading material and links on the topic at hand.
All of this, however, is a bit of time away. The smart book at the moment uses Near Field Communication to talk to a phone, and currently the Android can be NFC-enabled, but the iPhone cannot. Still, it is hard to imagine more smart books won’t be along soon enough.