Augmented Reality (AR) is growing in popularity in the children’s book market, with the news this month that the first ever AR-powered novel is to open the popular Sprung ghosthunting series.
Kids publisher Carlton will publish its most expensively originated book on Super Thursday (4th October) later this year, an augmented reality novel for kids aged 10 and up called The Ghostkeeper’s Journal Field Guide, written and developed by Japhet Asher (pictured) and set to cost £14.99.
Carlton is clearly pitching for a slice of the lucrative Christmas market with its ambitious new venture into AR-book development and publishing and it will be really exciting to see the final product this coming autumn.
Growing market for AR books
AR books have been around for a good few years now, with Carlton itself being a major publisher in this burgeoning publishing industry, having sold more than four million copies of its AR titles globally, with hits including licenses and titles such as Jurassic World, Bugs and Alien.
The new AR title in the Sprung series – which stands for “Society of the Pursuit of the Reputedly Undead Namely Ghosts” – is being developed by digital agency Scary Beasties, with the AR set to be accessed via a “Ghost-o-Matic” app.
Carlton has already pre-sold over a quarter of a million copies in the US alone and plans an “ambitious” marketing campaign, both in the UK and worldwide, to boost the sales of the new AR book in the run-up to this Christmas season later this year.
Pokemon GO changed the game for books
“Pokémon GO changed the way consumers understood AR,” said a Carlton AR spokesperson. “Some retailers have been slow to pick this up, but educating consumers is very much our job… We are putting the largest push behind this that Carlton has ever done. We believe in it, and the scale of the orders we’ve already received confirm our confidence is not misplaced.”
It’s a really positive sign that AR technology is still finding its own niches, particularly following the successes the tech has seen in mobile app gaming over the last couple of years.
Of course, the education market is another largely untapped one for AR book developers and publishers, mixing traditional text with interactive digital content to make learning far more fun and engaging.
British start-up making waves in AR books
British start-ups making waves in this sphere include companies such as Mardles, who have developed interesting ways of using AR to engage with kids through both stickers and books.
Mardles has released a number of hardback AR books itself, which work with its own specially designed augmented reality app.
“We’re giving the bedtime story a 21st century twist,” Mardles founder James Murden, told the Daily Mirror at last year’s London Toy Fair event. “It’s all too easy to just give kids a tablet to keep them quiet, but this is something that children and parents can use together.
AR book writer and developer Japhet Asher will showcase his new book at The Bookseller Children’s Conference on 24th September.
For more on Mardles check out https://www.mardleslife.com/