For years we’ve been hearing that books are dying. With tablets and phones taking over our reading habits, it seems books have lost the magic they held when we were children. Why would new generations be interested in static images in their illustrated storybooks, when they have richer and responsive images right at their fingertips? Kids today seem to inherently know how to work an iPad and have experiences with richer colors, movement and interactions that make books fall short. Book designers and developers have seen an opportunity here. Instead of mourning for the death of printed books they are innovating and revolutionizing the book industry to bring kids back to reading.

It’s an obvious solution: this audience with a limited attention span who seem to be tech savy from birth are the perfect catalysts for a book revolution. As these children sit with smartphones and tablets in their strollers while their parents walk through stores, book designers lure them back into the world of literature with new interactive and personalized experiences.

New generations are experiencing storytelling in a more immersive way we ever could. Stories we read as kids are being turned into interactive worlds children can explore. One might think that these immersive experiences all take place in the digital world and while some of they do, Wonderbly a publishing company is pushing the boundaries of printed books by creating personalized stories for children. They have created an alternative version of Charlie and the Chocolate factory that immerses children in the book by turning the story into a personal journey through the factory.

Other companies have taken to the digital world, creating interactive books where the illustrations come to life as the children read out loud. Using voice recognition technology AKQA developed a digital book titled Snow Fox that animates with voice commands so as the children read certain words the illustrations start moving across the page. The best part is the app can be downloaded on the App store and it allows users to personalize the story adding their kid’s character to it.

The way storytelling is transforming into an interactive and personalized experience has huge implications for marketers who are following publishers’ steps and creating similar experiences. Facebook is using their full-screen mobile format Canvas to help marketers explore new ways of communicating.

São Paulo shop Africa and Latin American bank Itau used this technology to turn smartphones into interactive children’s books for a campaign that highlighted the brand’s involvement with an initiative that encourages parents to read to their children.

This approach to storytelling brings new generations back to reading and as they grow it can change the future of what constitutes a book. It is transforming education and has giant implications for marketers as well. This approach to storytelling as interactive and personalized experiences speak to things that might help when looking generate more engagement and it can begin to shape the way we communicate with audiences beyond bringing children back to reading.

What do you think is the future of reading?


Images Courtesy of Wonderbly, AKQA and AdWeek