The Oakley Mobile Blog

Is Faber boss right about publisher’s embracing mobile?
Wednesday January 13, 2016

Stephen Page, chief executive of leading publisher Faber & Faber, has recently spoken out challenging the book publishing industry to respond to the rapid increase in smartphone use.

Let’s be clear, he is not talking about ebooks dominating the market or the end of printed literature. Instead he is referring to using mobile as a marketing tool to enhance book sales.

The printed book industry has proved it’s here to stay. Many people believed that ebooks would lead to the death of printed literature. How wrong they were… Yes digital book sales in the UK have increased year on year, but printed literature still remains the format of choice with more than 83% of all book sales being for printed books (The Publishers Association).

The public have spoken; their love of print is here to stay. Putting format to one side, how should publishers be embracing mobile? The opportunity for publishers to enhance the reading experience using mobile technologies is there for the taking. Print and mobile don’t need to be on opposing teams; they should form a beautiful partnership where mobile technology is used as part of the marketing strategy.

"Without expert understanding of mobile, we may not be able to create the new audiences"
Stephen Page

Publishers can’t rely on the love of print alone, they need to embrace new technology and be innovative to stand out. Using mobile apps and augmented reality, publishers can use mobile technology to play into their hands, literally! The beauty of a good book is how it feeds the readers imagination. Augmented reality can take the experience of a good book even further and bring the words to life with video, interactive games and extra content features. And let’s face it; a book with extra techy features will seem far more attractive than one without! Augmented reality being used in publishing is still in its infancy, but there have already been some inspirational examples of mobile and print living together in harmony.

Disney took the traditional 2D colouring book and transformed it into a 3D masterpiece where dinosaurs quite literally jump out of the pages. And if that wasn’t enough, the app lets the reader lead virtual tyrannosaurs around their living room. These examples not only create memorable experiences but also provide excellent platforms for learning and development.

Penguin have released a series of books with virtual covers, where readers using the mobile app can see characters coming to life on the front cover. The possibilities for children’s books are endless, as are educational books.

Kate Russell, BBC technology reporter, fused Hollywood green screen technology and augmented reality to enhance and promote her book, showing that the technology absolutely has its place in the business world as well as children’s books.

Also created by Oakley Mobile, YouTube sensation KSI used augmented reality powered videos along with a dynamic Keepy Uppy game to bring his debut book to life and ultimately extend its life-span.

It’s likely that the digital generation will drive the demand for innovations such as augmented reality, but publishers must not ignore the older generation. The versatility of the technology means that it can be applied to almost any subject. Readers can watch videos of culinary delights being prepared directly from the page and interior design books can be brought to life with virtual tours. Readers of travel books can feel a real sense of being there, walking down the virtual cobbled streets of Sorrento, or taking a boat trip in the Caribbean. Unlike a book, the possibilities really are endless!

From instigating 360º experiences and even virtual reality storytelling, augmented reality is just the beginning for publishers. Discover more about Oakley Mobile's digital solutions and book companion apps here.

Read Stephen Page’s Guardian article in full here 

Written by Bev M at 10:04

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