New app lets you talk to your favourite writers without leaving room

Have you ever been in a situation when after finishing reading a book, you don’t really want to put it down? However, there is nothing else you can do so you just end up spending the rest of the day feeling a little bit empty inside? With our app you won’t need to feel this way anymore. This app allows you to see and interact with your favourite writers at your home, workplace or any other place! But let’s start from the beginning.

For those who don’t know augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are “augmented” by computer – generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. All AR systems share three characteristics – combines real and virtual images; interactive in real time; registered in 3D. Augmented reality could be seen by using smartphone, computer with camera or smart glasses.

Originally, augmented reality experience were used in entertainment and game businesses, but nowadays a lot of different industries are getting interested in AR’s possibilities. If you have used Snapchat application in the last couple months, chances are big that you have already experienced a little bit of AR. In September, Snapchat updated its app to allow users to render an animated, cartoon version of themselves called “Bitmoji”. Those animated avatars would be projected in real world through the camera, and can be photographed or video recorded. Another huge company that dived into the AR field is Ikea. This year they introduced an app where you can tap through Ikea’s catalogue, then hold up you phone and use the camera to place the digital furniture anywhere in the room. It helps customers to see whether or not the piece of furniture would fit in the room and makes shopping experience much more pleasant.

However, new cases of usage are thought everyday, so we tried to jump into the AR train, and think of how publishing houses could use AR to their benefit.

It is not a secret that publishing houses are facing a lot of difficulties in the digital age. Printed books are dying, kids rather play with smartphone than pick up a book, adults act in the same way. And not only that. As more and more books are being sold online, publishing houses don’t really know who is buying their books. Are they young, are they old, where do they live, how much money they are earning? Those are the question that they don’t know the answer to, and without this knowledge, it’s almost impossible to efficiently advertise your products online. Our solution is to create an augmented reality app which attracts actual books readers so publishing houses can get the idea about who are their customers.

After learning about the AR and the problem with publishing houses, we can finally start talking about the actual idea for the app. After finishing reading a book, you will find a note “download this app if you want to talk with the writer in your room”. Who would say no to that? You download the app, aim the camera to an empty place in your room and the magic happens – you can see the writer in his natural environment, this might be his working place with computer and his favourite plant, or his house with fireplace and cigar. At first, he’s going to ask you some general question about the book, what you liked, what could be improved, etc. After that you will need to login either with Facebook or create an account (that’s how the publishing house will get information about the client) to get the ability to participate in a quiz about the book you just have read. We believe that this quiz, where people would be able to win discounts for their next book, would really boost popularity of the app, because as HQ Trivia app showed, people are attracted to money and discounts. Answer the question right, enrol to lottery, win discounts for books, repeat! We seek people to use the app continuously, so the quiz is one way of achieving it. Other way to achieve it is to create a community of readers, a virtual book club, where you can go to virtual room and discuss and share ideas and insights about the book you have just read. We believe virtual book club would be great advertising tool, because people tend to trust “real” people.

All in all, publishing houses are facing big problems nowadays, they don’t know their customer, they don’t know how and where advertise their products, more and more writers publish their books independently. There is no doubt that they need to explore new technologies and possibilities that they bring. Our augmented reality app brings technology and innovation to a certain publishing house. This app not only allows publishing house to get information about the client and advertise books directly to his phone, but also separates it from other publishing houses as innovative and forward-thinking.

Author’s note:
This blog post is part of the course „Trends in Media“. The students were supposed to research a specific trend and build a use case for a publishing house. The results of their work are a presentation and this blog post.