Today's New York Times has a fascinating article on how the current generation of Smartphones are allowing print magazines to add interactivity. The Kindle, the Nook, the Skiff, and whatever e-readers we see in the future may wind up (and we think they will) redefining the nature of the magazine. But that's a long way off. In the meantime, efforts like this may staunch the bleeding:
But the average consumer did not own a bar-code reader — until now. With the sudden ubiquity of smartphones, which have apps that can read bar codes, and cameraphones, which can easily snap pictures of icons, magazines like Esquire and InStyle are adding interactive graphics to their articles, while Entertainment Weekly and Star are including them in ads.
Meanwhile, publishers using text-messaging programs to try to enliven their pages are packing information into the messages and using reader responses to calibrate their coverage.
So what can we expect to see in the very near future?
In its March issue, Esquire will print Scanbuy codes in a spread on “The Esquire Collection” — “the 30 items a man would need to get through life,” said David Granger, editor in chief. Printed near each item will be a small code that looks like a group of black and white squares. Readers scan the code into an Internet-enabled phone, and the code takes them to a mobile menu that provides Esquire’s styling advice for the item and information on where to buy it.
Mr. Bulkeley said that Esquire’s choice to introduce Scanbuy with its editorial pages, rather than with ads, made sense. “I think advertisers will see that and say, ‘Hey, can we do that too?’ But it is important for editorial to lead, to show advertisers they are supporting it, because there is an educational component necessary,” he said.
P.S. - We remember the CueCat - as a Wired subscriber back in the 90s, we got one of those for free.
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Update - Joe Trippi (Who revolutionized campaigning via the Internet for Howard Dean in 2004) picks up on the story.