eBook readers like the Kindle let you take thousands of stories with you anywhere you go, and now one will make up a new story as you travel.
A Brazilian ad agency has created a limited production ereader which uses GPS to track its current location and automatically change the location and landmarks in a story to wherever the reader is located.
According to the video, it really does exist (and isn’t just a marketing gimmick):
The Trip Book was developed by FCB Brazil for a Brazilian loyalty program called Smiles. It features a story by Brazilian author Marcelo Rubens Paiva which was written in a sufficiently generic style that key locations and landmarks can be replaced with whatever locations are near the reader.
On a technical level, this is a nifty idea, but on an artistic level it strikes me as unappealing.
The most interesting stories can transport you to their location simply through description and are affected by the setting. This story, on the other hand, is little more than a MadLib.
But you don’t have to take my word for it; in addition to developing the TimeBook, FCB Brazil also released the story as a free interactive ebook app for Android and iPad/iPhone. That app uses your mobile device’s location tracking ability to work its magic and change the story.
I’m having trouble with iTunes at the moment (and I don’t have a compatible Android device) so I haven’t had a chance to try the app, but I can see from the Google Play listing that the story is written in Portuguese. I think there’s an option to change your location manually, although I’m not sure.
I hope there is an option to change your location in the menu; that would be an improvement on The Silent History, an ebook app which tied certain parts of the story to specific locations around the world.