The cover of the travelogue in Malayalam Jalakannadi, published by Thrissur-based Ivory Books, has a photograph of a lake flanked by mountains. Scan the QR code on the book and seconds later the photograph comes to life, with ripples of water glistening across the surface. As is the case with the covers of Pandora Petti and Samayaalbhutangal. This is the first time that Augmented Reality (AR) has been used for Malayalam book covers.
A desire to think outside the box led publisher Praveen Vaisakhan to give AR a chance. âThe potential of technology is immense, you just have to think about how to use it. Take holographic projections for example … 3D images completely change an experience. Imagine seeing the holographic projections of a favorite author! he says. A fledgling publishing company, Ivory Books, gave him the space to try out his idea.
âThe cover of the book started out as another ideaâ¦ I was thinking of books with images embedded in augmented reality. There are manuals built into augmented reality, linked to an app, âhe says. Based on conversations with her son, an art director at an advertising agency, they turned to testing augmented reality book covers.
Each of the books has a QR code that when scanned leads to Facebook or Instagram. When you place the camera on the cover, a filter appears (like on Instagram) and the image comes to life. For the cover of Pandora Petti, they used the video of a butterfly to give the filter a realistic feel with butterflies floating on it. âThe technology now costs between 10,000 and 15,000 to design a filter, but if more people started using the technology, for example for book covers, it would become accessible and perhaps cheaper,â Praveen explains.
Having run a design agency earlier in his career, that was another reason for him to think about presentation. Praveen now operates a bookshop, Bookish Store, in Thrissur, which also has a space dedicated to the presentation of art. His personal collection of books on art is on display here for reference. He says his passion for books led him to open the store three months ago, in the midst of a pandemic.
âI would be one of the few people to start a business venture during the pandemic. The gallery space was once a financial institution. In my opinion, art has found a space where money (the financial institution) has lost its own, reiterating the absurdity of money when calamity strikes, âhe adds.