Do you want a smart book?


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Atria is publishing its first book to be equipped with a smart chip, the publisher announced Friday. Tapping the RFID-enabled sticker with an NFC-enabled smartphone will bring up a website with additional materials for the book. The debut smart book is ‘The Impulse Economy: Understanding Mobile Shoppers and What Makes Them Buy’ by Gary Schwartz. Appropriate.

The smart book allows the physical book to become interactive for both the book buyer and the book browser, Judith Curr, Atria’s executive vice president and publisher, said in a statement. ‘The reader can tap to rich interactive content on their phone. The goal is to engage the consumer and start a permission-based two-way relationship that may lead to the sale of this book or further sales in this category of interest.’


The interesting thing about this take is that it seems to be a way for the publisher to try to sell the potential book-buyer on the book using interactive content. This buyer is someone who is browsing in a bookstore, sees the book and taps the sticker on the book without being obliged to purchase it. Now there is additional online marketing pizzazz convincing them to buy the book.

I guess this makes me old-fashioned: the way I decide to buy a book in a bookstore is to pick it up and look inside.

Would it be possible for a book with a smart chip that adds enhanced content, rather than marketing? How could it be packaged if the book is sitting there on the shelf, easy to flip through?

It will be a while before I find out. NFC-enabled phones use Near Field Communication to communicate with radio frequencies at short range and are often used for purchasing. Android phones can be NFC-enabled; iPhones cannot.


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-- Carolyn Kellogg