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Open-source immersive digital book experience

Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/kids-sitting-on-green-grass-field-1094072/

jnikola May 05, 2022
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Take a regular book, fill it with QR codes, VR or AR elements and make the reading an immersive digital experience where people can learn much more than just what's written. Use phones, VR glasses, or anything to get the most out of the book.
  • To connect books with the vasts of content available online
  • To make the books more interactive
  • To make it available for every reader to leave its footprint on how he/she understood what's written
  • To make it easier for people to visualize the described characters and situations
  • To enhance the emotion and bring it closer to the reader
  • To make it easier for people to learn from books
  • To make people enjoy books and read more
What I love about the Internet is the versatility and the vast amount of content available at a click. Not only I can read about any topic I am interested in, but I can also choose a way how I can learn about it. I can read Wikipedia-style articles, take a short course, listen to a podcast or watch a youtube video, whatever I prefer at that moment. On the contrary, while reading a book, I feel trapped inside those pages. The author had its own language and style, which I sometimes find hard to understand. It reminds me of some classes where I didn't understand what did the teacher talk about. But, as soon as I got home and read about the topic from another source and I understood it much better.
How would it work?
Take Shakespeare's Romeo and Giulietta for example. You buy a book with a nice cool cover photo and a small sign that says it's also digital experience. You see that the book can be "read" using your phone's AR app, VR glasses or simply by scanning QR codes.
  • If you choose QR codes as your method, you read the book and occasionally scan the codes to get more information. QR codes take you to explanation pages, detailed authors biography, movies connected to books, character descriptions, cool items eBay links, etc.
  • If you choose to "read" it with the AR apps, you scan the book with the app and a cool things like shown here appear. You see how the author imagined characters, beautiful sceneries, environments or monsters to look like. You walk around a small virtual world of the book and explore hidden tracks that give you more information.
  • If you choose to "read" the book using VR glasses, you enter the "book experience" which combines videos, sounds and the book. It's created like a video game where you are still asked to read the book, but you can also become one of the characters and experience the situations from their perspective, explore everything connected to a book via external links, see other people's comments and footprints, listen to sounds, feel the tense situations as if they were real, etc.
Additional information
The open-source code
The digital book experience could be made open-source to allow the continuous growth of every book into a world of its own. People will always be asked to read the book, but the number of add-ons would be increasing. That way, if you experience some situations in a different way, you could create a simulation or write your comments, which would be available for other users. If you are an artist, you could create a 3D model of the character so that the other people who read the book can choose which one they like to be represented through the whole reading. If you find incredible similarities of the situation and some song, you could post it for the others to see it too. That way, we could create a digital world, a giant experience vrap around every book to allow socializing, meeting people, developing skills, learning and enjoying every book.
Note: The idea was inspired by by Goran Radanovic's session .
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General comments

Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain2 years ago
I love this idea. If I were a child who had just found his love for reading, this would have immensely fascinated me. Just one concern though. Taken that such a book exists, and it is possible like you mentioned for integrating readers' experiences and feedback and comments and other inputs into the book reading experience, would it not make the whole system prone to predation and deliberate (bad) marketing gimmicks? For instance, when such an immersive system is brought to life, it definitely will have a more intense effect on the psyche of readers/engagers. As such, the sheer competition among the publishers (and this can already be seen in the classical publishing industry) can bring problems of biased commenting, deliberate adulteration, biased critique and whatnot. This can definitely hamper the otherwise disinterested reader's experience. This can happen more often in the case of more popular, best-selling books. More than that, there could be other issues with false narrative creation (with compounded effects due to the 'immersive' nature), gaslighting and similar psychological mishaps.
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jnikola2 years ago
Subash Chapagain I agree with you.
First, such experience feedback, comments, and add-ons should be regulated by the publisher or an approved third party. Second, this should be an optional feature that you can choose or not choose to use while reading. That way we would make it a predation-free experience. Maybe the experience could be tailored to show only add-ons and comments rated as "legit", "constructive", "funny", "genuine", "author approved", etc, so that you can see only what you want to see. It could make it a sort of a book club for a specific book. But thanks for raising this issue. The problem is real and should be taken care of from the beginning.
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