From magazine covers to advertisements and animated books for children and adults, augmented reality is opening up new horizons in the publishing world.

Réalité-augmentée-Paris-Tour-Eiffel3D and historical reenactments for publishing

Far from admitting defeat in the face of competition from the digital boom, the publishing industry is embracing the technology and investing in mobile apps and augmented reality. Among the numerous possibilities available, publishing companies are exploring new products for purchasing “real” paper books combined with a flash code and an app that displays related contextual information, brings static images to life via a mobile video or by turning them into 3D images.  The venerable Guinness Book of Records, started over fifty years ago, featuring some 40,000 certified records and for which  4,000 applications a month are submitted, took its first steps into the digital era with its  2013 edition.


In France meanwhile, publishing company Nathan has been exploring augmented reality applications since 2009 in an attempt to liven up its children’s encyclopaediae. By holding up a page of the encyclopaedia to a webcam, children can interact with static images which then come to life on the computer screen. In 2009, Nathan created Dokéo, a series of augmented reality-enabled books. Disney, meanwhile, has launched HideOut (pictured), a smartphone-sized projector which enables users to control digital content projected onto physical surfaces.

Along similar lines, French publishing house Flammarion is about to publish an innovative AR-enabled book called ‘’Paris, la ville à remonter le temps’’ which enables readers to visualise the city’s buildings and monuments as they were centuries ago,  showing for example the Bastille prison or the Eiffel Tower at various stages of construction. Needless to say, augmented reality is also opening up a wealth of possibilities for publishers specialising in education.

RA-20mYour daily paper on your mobile device

To give just a few examples, The Independent and Elle in the UK, and in France, Le Figaro with FigaroPlay and sports daily L’Équipe have been exploring the potential of augmented reality to come up with enhanced content in the hope of attracting and engaging both readers and advertisers. Printed articles also feature additional multimedia content which can be accessed via a smartphone with the related app.