Publishing Industry Is Using AR Books

Written by Flavius Saracut
Published on Apr 22, 2013
Read time 3 min
Category App Development

In the past years a lower disposable income affected the amount of money spent on books and, therefore, hampered Global Book Publishing industry growth in the last five years, resulting in a 2.5% annualized decline to 2012. Self-publishing phenomenon and the increase of free e-books and other new forms of entertainment are also putting pressure on book publishers. The industry is forecast to decline at an annualized five-year rate of 2.5% to a total $108.7 billion.

Despite this harsh reality, there are publishers that are innovating and bringing to market enhanced printed materials and product packaging through the use of augmented reality. Augmented reality, known as “AR,”  is a type of virtual reality that overlays objects and scenes in the real world with digital information.

In 2012 Penguin Books launched in partnership with Zappar App, an augmented reality entertainment channel, four novels from the English Library. The process works simply, users download the Zappar App for their iPhone or Android phone, locate the Penguin content in the menu and then point the smartphone at the book’s cover and watch as it reveals an array of digital content and online destinations.

Another company in this field is Popar that has a series of augmented reality books that are teaching children in an interactive way about bugs, dinosaurs, sea life or the solar system, by seeing virtually “real” 3D objects and animations that will pop off the book.

Augmented reality books and magazines are usually done in collaboration with a tech company. One such example is Aurasma, one of the most popular mobile based AR platform established so far. Since launching in 2011, it has gained 10,000 partners and four million downloads worldwide. Aurasma uses image-recognition technology to detect images, symbols, and objects in the real world and then mixes the physical image with an animation, video or audio.

There’s no doubt that we’re still in the early days of augmented reality books, however the opportunities created by AR are big, both on the cultural and on the commercial levels.

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Written by Flavius Saracut
Flavius is the Marketing Manager and Co-founder of Mobiversal, a mobile app development company working with startups and established brands like Forbes to create unique mobile experiences. Mobiversal is also the maker of Appointfix and FieldVibe. Connect with him on Twitter @FlaviusSaracut.

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