The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bionic Books

A friend sent me a link to a French publisher with an interesting mission statement:
Les editions volumiques is a publishing house focusing on the paper book as a new computer platform, as well as a research lab on book, (computational) paper, reading and their relation to new technologies.... game interactivity sheds a new light [on] the potential of a story [and] the role of the reader.... We do not consider the e-book as the replacement of the paper book, but we wish to enrich the tangible...connection that paper brings with all the new dimensions of the digital world. Each of our projects explores a different face of this union of paper and computation.
Their flash-heavy site (with non-embeddable videos unfortunately) showcases some stunning and fascinating projects.

Several use the iphone's camera and touch sensitive screen to interact with game boards and artfully designed branching books. My favorite of this type "The Night of the Living Dead Pixels" is a multi-directional fold-out book imprinted with treated stills from NOTLD. The iphone camera picks up bar codes (that are cleverly blended into the high contrast b+w images) which trigger specific video clips on the iphone screen; transforming the book into a multiple-choice role-playing experience.

Another project is:
"A prototype of a paper video game using reative inks to makes shapes appear and disappear dynamically on the paper. A tiny joypad allows to play [sic] with the duck to open the door to the next page."
The video shows what appears to be a page torn from a children's book crazily trailing wires like witch's hair. A hand controls the movements of a small duck through an abstract city-scape. If this ever becomes practical/affordable it could be beautifully implemented in picture books (or pop-up books! Imagine a pop-up book made with this "reactive paper").

I really like the way this studio is going with their re-imagining of the book form. They're innovative, exciting and--perhaps best of all--unlike traditional ebooks they're collectible and resellable!

See all of their projects here.

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