Enhancing Magazines and Books

Experimenting. That’s what publishers are doing and it is very cool to think about what the near-future holds. This week I’m playing with two such experiments. One from a magazine publisher, the other from a book publisher.

Enhance Print Media

First, the print magazine. While many magazines are still reeling from economic and industry shifts, Esquire is charging ahead with quirky and innovative (though sometimes clunky) tech/design mash-ups such as an embedded eInk cover and the December 2009 issue featuring “augmented reality”. While, in my mind what the issue holds is not true augmented reality, it is 100% pure print enhancement. To enjoy the enhancements you need to:

  1. Have a computer and webcam.
  2. Buy the magazine.
  3. Download the Esquire reader/viewer software (for Mac and PC)
  4. Install and launch software. Once up you just hold one of the 6 encoded boxes up to the camera.

AR Code

On your screen you can see the image of the page, but the model on the page starts moving and talking. It’s pretty cool. Though much more fun with a webcam not embedded at the top of a laptop monitor. It’s hard to see around the magazine to see the screen, since you have to keep the magazine held up to the camera. If you rotate the page, it’s like changing the channel on a tv. As an example, the printed page has a single shot of a model. But if you hold that page up to the webcam, the model will don winter clothes if the magazine in upright, and Spring clothes if your rotate 90 degrees. Rotate another 90 and he swaps out for Summer, etc.

While these codes certainly unlock more content than a basic QR code it is GREAT that publishers are starting to add things to their products. So if you get a chance, grab a copy of the magazine, play around and imagine what consumers will be enjoying this time next year.

Tomorrow I’ll post about the new Zuiker book I picked up, “Level 26“. It’s a book penned by the guy who created the CSI series and ties in with pre-recorded video to move the story along. We’ll see how that goes.

2 thoughts on “Enhancing Magazines and Books”

  1. Thanks for the link.

    It’s great that you showed the steps, but it’s probable that steps 3 and 4 are beyond most consumers. Step 2 is even looking dubious at this point.

    Mags have a tough enough time getting people to look at special Web content w/ custom links.

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