How publishers are using augmented reality to bring stories to life

While pop-up books used to be the only way to make reading an interactive experience, the rise of augmented reality means that publishers are now able to bring stories to life in a whole new way.

But is there a demand for AR-driven books? And what are the benefits for the brands and publishers involved? Here’s more on the story, along with a few new and innovative examples.

Masters of the Sun

Earlier this year, hip-hop group the Black-Eyed Peas teamed up with Marvel to release a graphic novel called Masters of the Sun. This week, a long-awaited AR app was also released to go alongside it, giving readers the chance to delve deeper into the story through animated graphics and text.

The app also includes a musical score produced by will.i.am and Hans Zimmer (the Oscar-winning composer), plus narration by well-known stars including Jamie Foxx and Queen Latifah.

So, does the app add real value to the actual story, or is it more of a marketing ploy – a way to generate extra revenue? There’s already been some criticism from readers about having to pay extra to download the app (as the book must be bought separately), however, this also means that the AR element does not overshadow the actual book. People can still enjoy it in print form if they wish, yet the publisher can reach a wider audience, including fans of technology as well as traditionalists.

In terms of the benefits for readers, I think the app will enhance elements of the story, creating a richer, more interactive and engaging experience overall. Early reviews suggest the effects are indeed impressive, and with extra features that you don’t get with the print novel (such as the musical score) there’s certainly extra enjoyment to be had.

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