A mysterious bookshelf has appeared in Chapters and Indigo stores across Canada. The shelf appears antiquated, as if it belongs in an estate library from centuries ago; a marker atop the shelf bears the words This Dark Endeavour. Is it a warning or an invitation?
Of course, you know that This Dark Endeavour is the title of the first volume of Kenneth Oppel's new trilogy about a young Victor Frankenstien, which we've been excited about since reviewing it early. This bookshelf is part of Harper Collins Canada's new AR campaign for the novel.
AR stands for augmented reality, and it encompasses everything from the Lost and Heroes games that ran along with the TV shows to how books like Cathy's Book and Skeleton Creek interact with readers. While the The Dark Endeavour AR campaign isn't as in-depth, it is the first of its kind in North America. It's the first time a book has tried to recreate through technology the reader experience of vanishing into another world—and that's very exciting.
Find the shelf. Download the app. Use your phone to locate the correct book, and unlock the hidden secrets of the Dark Library.
The downside is that you will need an Android phone into order to participate in-store with the actual display. If you don't have an Android phone, still go have a look at the bookshelf in your local Chapters or Indigo—as it is a very cool piece of art—and then pick up one of the This Dark Endeavour bookmarks that has the instructions for unlocking the secrets of young Victor Frankenstien through this page on Kenneth Oppel's website. You need the bookmark and a working webcam.
I got to go to Eaton Centre on Thursday, September 29th, when Harper Collins Canada launched this endeavour. Mr. Oppel was there to discuss his book, and he did some stock signing. I finally got my copy signed.
Book events, like well-run author signings, have an element of augmented reality to them—they create a moment where a story is more than just words. With how interactive our lives are now, I think we expect these kinds of experiences. We want them—or at least, I want them. I really hope that this is the first of many AR involvements with young adult fiction. As long they are done well and are easy access, they can only help create a stronger bond between readers and the books they're reading.