If you prefer a few digital extras with your Chekhov, you’re in luck: Independent Brooklyn-based publisher Melville House is launching a series called HybridBooks, print books bundled with additional material the company calls “Illuminations.”
Buyers scan the QR code or type in the URL on the back of each print book in the series and are brought to the Melville House Illuminations for that title: “highly curated text, maps, photographs and illustrations related to the original book.” The idea, the company says, is to take “the concept of the enhanced e-book and [imposes] it on print media.”
“We spend a lot of time brainstorming how to work more closely with independent brick-and-mortar booksellers, and the idea of the ‘enhanced’ print book came out of one of those sessions,” said Dennis Loy Johnson, Melville House publisher. “It was also partly inspired by another project we’ve been doing, where we offer to make custom shelf-talkers and posters with QR codes on them for any indie bookstore that will allow customers in the store to buy e-books from that bookseller on the spot” [through the Google (NSDQ: GOOG) eBookstore].
So far there are five HybridBooks, all part of Melville House’s “The Duel” series. All the books in the series are titled The Duel, but each is by a different author–Giacomo Casanova, Anton Chekhov, Joseph Conrad, Heinrich von Kleist and Aleksandr Kuprin.
The titles are also available as e-books, and are bundled with the additional digital material.
“We’re doing all the books in our Art of the Novella series, and we have several other titles in the works outside that series as well. We’re taking our time–these things are not things you can slap together overnight–and doing them right,” said Johnson. “I’m sure eventually most of our books will have Illumination sections, and be available as HybridBooks.”