There’s a common misconception that print publishing and mobile are unhappy bedfellows. But there is much more to this than print versus e-books. Forward-looking publisher, Atria Books is using quick-response codes and mobile Web to enhance books and giving away free e-books to promote newly published books. In this interview Judith Curr, executive vice president and publisher, Atria Books (Simon & Schuster), also explores how mobile can deliver ongoing customer engagement – mobile fits well with the model of serialization, for example – and statistical information that was unknown previously to print publishers. It’s not just print publishers that should be taking advantage of mobile – Curr goes on to explain how booksellers should be using mobile to bring their businesses into the 21st century, while retaining everything that is brilliant about bookstores.
The most interesting thing is that having tried mobile apps for several titles, Curr is sure that mobile Web is the way forward. This way Atria can insert QR codes into the pages of books (as well as into the promotional materials) that hyperlink readers to video, music, text, images etc. which add value to the book. For example, using their smartphones to snap QR codes found within the pages of Jessica Watson’s True Spirit, will take the reader to video extracts from the from the author’s video diary from her round-the-world yachting adventure.
“I don’t think apps are the future for publishing. For one thing, with apps, the customer has to download any updates, whereas with our QR codes we can change what information the customer receives anytime we like by changing what a particular code links to,” explains Curr. “Also, apps present an economic challenge in that the vast majority of them are priced so low that it becomes difficult to cover the often high development costs. Apps are a marketing challenge for publishers, too – we don’t know how to create demand for an app in the same way that we do a print book or even an e-book original, and if you aren’t in the top 50 in the app store, how does anyone find your app to buy it?”
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