Monday, August 23, 2010

Everything Is "With" Not "Instead of"

When looking at the impact digital is going to have on things such as publishing, books and other print media, really smart people have been saying things like "everything is with not instead of" (Mitch Joel, March 27, 2010) or that "things just add on" (David Pogue, June 18, 2010).

In fact, many more people like Joel and Pogue have made similar statements. I could repeat them all here, or, instead, offer a couple of quick examples of this happening.

A few months ago, I found a cool online video showing how a publisher, Ubimark Books was using 2D or QR codes embedded within a book to offer the reader some great opportunities to connect with other readers, get quick access to online content and enhance the reading experience.  My favourite thing about this was the fact that each chapter of the first book they have created for "Around the World in 80 Days" by Jules Verne includes a link to an audio recording of the chapter on LibriVox, (LibriVox is the brainchild of Hugh McGuire in which people submit audio recordings of public domain novels - the goal, to make all public domain books available as free audio books).

I'm proud to say that after a great conversation with Ubimark's Dr. Sorin Adam Matei, Titles Bookstore at McMaster University is the very first bookstore in the world to carry these books (which we print on demand on our Espresso Book Machine)  To find a copy, just browse our Literature section and there right in the V's you'll find this special Ubimark edition of "Around the World in 80 Days" on the shelf.

And along the lines of enhancing a physically printed object, here's a video I recently discovered on a ReadWriteWeb article written by Chris Cameron in which a German publisher has built in augmented reality features connected to a magazine that can be unlocked with the use of a free application on your smart-phone.

Just like a series of novels following a continuing cast of characters in which you can read a single book without having to read the others, (but those who have followed the entire series get a bit more out of it) this magazine offers the usual standard to readers it always has, but then adds a special extra something to readers who want to explore some enhanced augmented reality using a smart phone.

These are just two examples of how new technology can add on to existing ones and make them more exciting and dynamic rather than killing them or wiping them out.

I'm keeping my eyes peeled for more examples of this.

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