Looking to find the least convenient way to integrate digital content into paper books, HC launched HarperCollins Unbound last month.
HC Unbound is a new, free app that is only available for Android smartphones and the iPhone (iPad users need not apply) which is intended to add bonus digital content to certain HarperCollins print books. The app officially launches today with two titles, The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond and You: The Owner’s Manual by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen.
Consumers can use the camera on their smartphone to scan the book's pages for identifying marks, and once the marks are identified the HarperCollins Unbound app will play a related video - on a 4" screen. You: The Owner’s Manual also includes 10 interactive quizzes to help readers engage deeper with the subject matter and test their knowledge.
This app doesn't appear to be available for any other platform, so I guess it is safe to assume that HarperCollins is only interested in smartphone owners. I'm not sure why they are targeting that niche, but I do wonder why HarperCollins couldn't just print a URL which linked to the video and other content.
This app was produced by Shortcut Media, a specialist in interactive-print solutions. Shortcut has developed a specialized app that can recognize QR-code-like symbols in text and serve up links to additional digital content. It is similar in concept to the QR codes that S&S started adding to the backs of books last year, though it is obviously more specialized.