With tablets and eReaders approaching ubiquity as the holiday gadget-buying season commences, the conversation over eBooks vs. print, or even “what is a book,” continues to take on different angles. So far, though, one of the big losers in eReading seems to be the “enhanced” eBook, where readers can access ancillary content that’s either embedded or clickable through hyperlinks. The fact that some publishers actually admit this is pretty damning, as publishers typically sing the praises of all things e-related in public.
But maybe there’s a different way to feature enhanced content? According to a Marketwire press release, business author Jeffrey Hayzlett’s forthcoming book Running the Gauntlet will feature SnapTags at the beginning of each chapter, “offering readers a direct connection to unique video content further explaining the core concept of each chapter.” Evidently SnapTags are like QR codes, those blobby barcodes you see on everything these days (for the uninitiated, check out Lauren’s post on QR codes from earlier this year), only these seem to link to specific multimedia content, rather than a website through your phone’s browser.
Now, will readers actually sit with the book in one hand and their Smartphone in the other, using both in conjunction? I have to say, on the face of it, it sounds a bit clunky—but then again, on a recent train ride to Philly, I saw plenty of people with books and newspapers on their laps, phones in their hands. And while I personally don’t get the thrill of QR codes in the first place—always seems like a lot of steps, which was one of the problems with enhanced eBooks in the first place—maybe other readers will find the separation of hard copy and e-content easier to digest? I imagine the SnapTags are less distracting than the links in an enhanced eBook and don’t interfere as much with the strict reading experience.
What do you think about SnapTags or QR codes in a hardcover book? Intriguing? Intruding? Useful for certain subjects? Worth a look-see, or just another e-gimmick?