Mark Bridge writes:
Atria Books, part of the Simon & Schuster publishing family, has released what it’s calling the first-ever smart book. A thousand copies of ‘The Impulse Economy’ by Gary Schwartz will have an NFC sticker attached, providing a web link to book-related content.
Hmmm. That’s not really a smart book, is it? The same kind of logic means my NFC credit card turns my wallet into a ‘smart wallet’ and transforms the pocket of my jeans into ‘smart jeans’. It means my NFC-equipped smartphone is a smart smartphone.
Besides, if they’d wanted to save money and reach a wider audience, they could have used QR Code stickers instead. You know, the kind of barcode that’s used on smart posters, smart breakfast cereal, smart newspapers and smart magazines.
What’s that? You’ve seen QR Codes on literature, too? Surely not. That would be some kind of proto-smart book. You sure you’re not making it up?
However, despite my cynicism about the promotional campaign, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see more books with embedded NFC chips. They’re already being used for much more than payments, URLs and contact information. Nokia is implementing NFC for simple Bluetooth pairing, for example. Why not put NFC chips in every book for libraries - or to help consumers search their own bookshelves?
But, for me, the most uncomfortable part of the announcement is that initial figure. Just a thousand NFC stickers have been ordered. Either NFC chips are still painfully expensive or there’s very little profit margin on the book.