The Augmented Reality of Reading

POSTED BY Christina Arbini on Nov 25, 2009

In the spirit of blending the teen sensation of Twilight with dynamic consumer experiences, Penguin Young Readers Group has unveiled a way to connect its tech savvy teen readers to author Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy books in a unique way – through augmented reality – giving them a personalized, interactive virtual experience, which they can also share with their friends through various social media outlets.

Penguin Young Readers Group First U.S. Publisher to Launch Augmented: Join the Vampire Academy and Experience Augmented Reality

Penguin Young Readers Group Partners with Ogmento to Launch Augmented Reality Application for Vampire Academy Signature Edition on November 25th

New York, NY - November 24, 2009 - Richelle Mead's novel Vampire Academy will become the first U.S. book to incorporate new Augmented Reality technology into the reading experience. On November 25th, Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, will publish an Augmented Reality (AR) limited edition, signature hard cover of the first book in the New York Times bestselling series, which currently has more than 2.25 million copies in print. Using advanced Augmented Reality technology, the book cover will layer text, images and video to give fans of the paranormal series a unique virtual experience. Penguin Young Readers Group is the first U.S. publisher to use this technology in conjunction with a published book.

Unlike other recent Augmented Reality campaigns, which require black and white geometric markers to trigger the virtual experience, Penguin's campaign will feature a new "image tracking" technology. When fans visit vampireacademybooks.com and hold the cover of the Vampire Academy signature hardcover up to their webcams, the cover will come to life and share a special message from the author. Most notably, this application will have a viral component, as fans will be able to transfer their own photo onto the cover of the book and share that image with friends via email, social networks, and mobile devices. As an added bonus, a secret gesture will reveal the cover image of Spirit Bound, the fifth book in the series, which is due out in May 2010.

Penguin partnered with Ogmento, a company that creates and publishes Augmented Reality games, to create the interactive experience. To promote the campaign, Penguin will run a full-page ad in People Magazine in the December 7th issue, which will also activate the Vampire Academy AR experience.

"When we first discovered Augmented Reality, we were blown away by the possibilities. Teens are incredibly tech savvy. They are constantly talking about their favorite authors, watching and creating book videos, and trading book recommendations online. With Augmented Reality, they can take it one step further and have a personalized, interactive virtual experience with their favorite book," said Don Weisberg, President of Penguin Young Readers Group.

Brian Selzer, Co-Founder of Ogmento commented, "Our vision is to mix fiction and reality in fun and engaging ways. Penguin's team enthusiasm and the Vampire Academy series were a great inspiration to create this unique user-generated augmented reality experience. Millions of fans have already been immersed in the fictional storyline; now they can get immersed in the real book cover - and share it with the world."

There are currently 2.25 million copies of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series in print. The Daily Beast has dubbed Vampire Academy, "the obvious heir to the Twilight throne." The hardcover signature edition of Vampire Academy will feature Mead's embossed signature on the cover of the book, as well as the first chapter of Spirit Bound. Penguin will release 100,000 copies of the limited edition.

WRITTEN BY Christina Arbini

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