Augmented Reality to Combat eBooks

As eBooks are slowly eroding the pricing structure of physical books, publishing houses are looking for ways to make the book as an object more appealing.  The ideas of limited editions or signed copies are going to expand to gimmicks like augmented reality covers, or special content for hardcovers only.

The latest book in Jean Auel’s series about a woman surviving the time around the end of an ice age 30,000 years ago comes with a special sticker on the front that gives the buyer a special augmented reality experience.  The main character Ayla will come alive on the computer screen by the power of AR.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES concludes the story of Ayla, her mate Jondalar, and their little daughter, Jonayla, taking readers on a journey of discovery and adventure as Ayla struggles to find a balance between her duties as a new mother and her training to become a Zelandoni — one of the Ninth Cave community’s spiritual leaders and healers.

Once again, Jean Auel combines her brilliant narrative skills and appealing characters with a remarkable re-creation of the way life was lived thousands of years ago, rendering the terrain, dwelling places, longings, beliefs, creativity and daily lives of Ice Age Europeans as real to the reader as today’s news.

Will this AR add-on help convince a reader to purchase the hardcover rather than wait for a regular copy or download an e-version?  Probably not.  But it is another step in the expansion of my favorite new technology and for that, I cheer.