Thursday, October 6, 2011

What Do You Think (8) - Augemented Reality: Are You Game?

Last week HarperCollinsCanada launched a unique and creative marketing campaign for Kenneth Oppel's latest book, This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship Of Victor Frankenstein. For those of you who live in Canada and are lucky enough to visit one of the larger flagship stores, you will find a setup with a large bookcase backdrop (as shown on the right, click to enlarge); all other stores will feature a poster format.  Using a free app on your (Android based) smartphone, you scan the bookcase. Suddenly books fly off the shelf and begin telling a story, playing on the The Dark Library, secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies which are discovered by the characters in the book. Don't fret if you don't live near a Chapters store or even in Canada, the experience is also available on the authors website or by clicking here. Sounds pretty cool, eh?! Remember how I suggested having book trailers playing on TVs instore? Well, I think this has just one-upped it.

 With the astronomical growth in ebooks, combined with the young age that kids are using technology these days, it is no wonder that books are using other platforms to generate buzz. 
Augmented Reality is taking new technology to help the old, "tricking kids into reading" as Kenneth Oppel puts it. Adding something not available from your average book,  the Augmented Reality layers on the sensory input, using 3D interactive tools.

For those lucky to have early access, the idea is similar to, the Harry Potter online game which is currently in beta mode. Both integrate reading with gaming elements, this campaign just does so on a smaller scale. Speaking of Harry Potter,  I noticed the other day that my Wii version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1 came with a code to access a special Augmented Reality feature! Who knows, maybe Augmented Reality can get the attention of those video gamers who may not read often. Still in it's infancy for book promotion, I can't wait to see how quickly this takes off and becomes the norm.

What do you think.... are you up for bookish fun and games? Would you play?


  1. I really liked the idea but I was disappointed they went with an android only app format. Android is still a minority for use and you think they would have used something more common. I can't even use the online experience because I don't have a I guess I'll just have to take everyone else's word for how neat it is.

  2. How cool! It's amazing how much more interactive books are getting, hopefully it'll mean more people reading :)

  3. Would I play? SURE! Would it influence what I buy? Probably not. Excellent question! :)

  4. this is very exciting sounding, i don't have a webcam either, so i can't do this, which is annoying. maybe i can move to canada.

    I agree with Gwenny, the different app brands could be a problem. can't they make them for all kinds of apps?

    I definetly think the more interactive the better. as our world becomes more and more technological, people expect more of an experience. A lot of people see movies more than they read books. We need to offer people more incentives and make reading seem more exciting.

  5. Gwenny ~ I'm going to stroll over to a smaller Chapters today & see how it works there. I was at the launch so had a phone to use, it was super cool to see & do!

  6. Lea ~ Totally, anything to get people reading is a good thing!

  7. Juju ~ Too funny. I think though that even if you don't buy it that day, you'd now KNOW of the book, something you may not prior to playing!

  8. Laura ~ hehe to moving here! I think this is such a new technology that it wasn't available for all phones :( I guess that is something to keep in mind for future endeavors (pun intended).

    I agree that we are expecting more these days. Even faithful book readers enjoy seeing the extras offered.