Monday, May 20, 2013

Bespoke Books Unique to Every Reader

The idea sounds straight out of The Jetsons. An electronic reading experience -- a “book” if you will -- that is unique to each reader and is precisely as long as the available amount of time.  And what work of fiction has tantalized us with these possibilities?

Well, this particular idea comes straight from the pages of fact, not fiction. According to Advertising Age, Australian airline, Quantas, has gotten together with publisher Hachette and international advertising agency Droga5 to create Stories for Every Journey, “a collection of custom books, each of which promises to last only for the duration of one of the airline’s routes.”
Stephanie Tully, CMO Qantas Loyalty, said the tactile experience and custom-created books are meant to reflect the sophistication of the brand. It's a trait that's Qantas is focusing on more than ever thanks to its recent partnership with luxury airline Emirates, which makes Dubai a key travel hub and opens the airline up to 65 destinations. The effort is aimed at the brand's high-frequency travelers but is "just one of many conversations we're developing with our members, from Bronze to Platinum One," she said. 
"It occurred to us that, in this world of Kindles and iPads, the last bastion of the humble, paperback novel is actually at 40,000 feet," said Droga5 Sydney Creative Chairman David Nobay. "Just take a look at the bulging shelves at any airport bookstore. But, for all its relative clumsiness, there's an unmistakably reassuring charm about thumbing through a good book as you recline amongst the clouds."
But frequent readers will spot the possible hole in this scenario: how long is long enough?
“According to our literary friends at Hachette, the average reader consumes between 200 and 300 words per minute, which equates to about a page per minute,” said Mr. Nobay. That idea was applied more specifically to the shorter novels and flights, but “for the longer flights, we accommodated some napping time and meals,” Mr. Nobay said. “After a few hours with a fine Qantas in-flight meal with Australian Shiraz, most people need a break from reading.”
It’s a novel idea, quite worthy of getting Qantas -- and Droga5 -- a lot of ink. But in a world where the acquisition of reading material is as easy as it is in this one and where both airport bookshops and WIFI connections abound, a limited available reading selection, no matter how custom, seems… well… silly: one of those bright ideas you’d think someone would have had a second thought about before it got out of the gate.

The upside, of course: we’re in another new conversation about books and reading and that’s always a good thing.


Anonymous Susan Wingate said...

Now, here's innovation at its best.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 8:01:00 AM PDT  

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