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The Cutting Edge of Digital/Print Hybrids

July 9, 2013

hybridAs part of their BookSmash Challenge, Harper Collins has provided links to a variety of  what they regard to be excellent examples of the potential for digitally enhancing the print reading experience.

The NY Times article Snow Fall is the only example they provide that is browser-based. It is of particular interest to me as someone who regularly skis at Stevens Pass (near Seattle) and who is familiar with the challenges of back country skiing because it reports on an avalanche accident in that location. This superbly written article caught my attention when it was released this past winter. The digital enhancements are top-notch – a collection of videos, photos, satellite footage and even advertisements (that are surprisingly unobtrusive). I would characterize the overall hybrid reading/viewing experience as elegant. For me, the digital enhancements bring a whole new life to this detailed and precisely reported story.

I believe that anyone, in the publishing industry should examine this digital/print hybrid experience and learn from it. I have not yet viewed the other examples offered by Harper Collins (click here and scroll to Current Out-of-the-Box Reading Apps). However based on their descriptions, I would guess that they are worth checking out. It is interesting (and confirming of what I believe to be recent trends in the education market) that the iPad apps so dramatically dominate the provided examples of “out-of-the-box” applications.

The work I do with Next Step Consulting supports many of my publishing clients to bridge their products from print to technology. Great models for what is possible have been hard to find. In my opinion, Snow Fall begins to fill this gap.

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