Printing Lives On…Hybrid Books

With current reports showing that e-readers becoming more popular and e-book sales are on the rise, the future of printed books is in question. Stuart Applebaum, spokesman for Penguin Random House believes “print is here to stay” and I for one hope that he’s right.

After casually flipping through some books on the counter at my local book store Mr B’s, Bath I spotted something very exciting that offered me hope for the printed book! I flipped to the back page of one of the books and noticed a QR code printed on the inside cover. On closer inspection the book had been marketed as a hybrid book, a new idea from the Brooklyn based independent publisher Melville House.

hybrid book

For those reading who haven’t come across them yet, they allow the reader to scan the QR code via a smartphone or a tablet which then links the user to additional information about the text, the author, illustrations etc which Melville House refer to as “illuminations.” Seeing this got me very excited about the prospect of a blend between new technology and classic printing!

With the future of the book in question I believe we need to be finding ways to make multimedia products which still promote the printed book market but incorporate new technology in order to create a multidimensional exciting product. “The best publishers going into this transition are the ones that are not trying to change the experience, but are going to create new delivery systems that enhance the experience,” says publisher Dennis Johnson. Hybrid books may possibly be a solution to those who wish to advance with current technology but who still relish in the exercise of holding a printed book.