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Bookful – bring books to life with AR

Explore and interact with books using augmented reality

Price: Free
Version: 1.0.3
Size: 163.1 MB
Seller: Inception VR
Platform: iPhone / iPad

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Ever find yourself completely lost in a book before you’re jolted sharply back to reality to find that some guy has fallen asleep on your shoulder during an arduous commute to work? Well, Bookful might just make that scenario a little easier to swallow.

Despite its appeal to adults, Bookful is very much aimed at kids – describing itself as a ‘magical, playful universe’, it’s designed more to encourage children to engage in books.

Pick a title from the handful of books to bring characters to life

But we think it will go further than that, inspiring adults to interact with their kids as well as they show them how it works across educational tomes such as an encyclopedia (which is the only free book included in the app, with the rest available via IAP) to well-known fiction like Peter Rabbit.

Point your camera wherever you like and your environment will be shown in the background

On opening the app, you select a virtual book and then point your device at a real-life surface with the device camera. It’s that simple. When the book opens characters will arise from the pages, layered over the open book which sits on top of whatever your camera can see.

Each book contains a series of games to elevate the fun

On first using it, it’s a joy. Augmented reality – layering graphically rendered imagery over the real world – can still feel a little gimmicky, but Bookful does something genuinely interesting with it. However, after using it for a while you do realize that actually reading these e-tomes isn’t particularly easy.

You have to use your fingers to pinch and move the book into position and then zoom in to read the text, obscuring the view of the world from the camera and blocking out the 3D characters dancing elsewhere on the page.

Although… the games are pretty basic

But then Bookful only really claims to get kids engaged in books, which it may well do. However, we’d hate to deal with that tantrum when they find out books are… just words. What!?

Jokes aside, Bookful is fun. We’d say it would hold some kids’ attention more than others, while for adults it’s a fun but limited gimmick.

The AR viewer is the core of the app and it’s a novelty seeing certain elements move on the page

Each title boasts a few mini-games. However, we’d say the term “game” is generous. We dressed a knight in his battle clothing which we were able to do just by tapping each item. Admittedly we’re not the target audience here – for young children, it could be the perfect level of interaction.

Currently, there are only six titles in Bookful – the aforementioned, plus some more educational books on dinosaurs and snakes, plus two further Beatrix Potter titles. It’s a neat start, but we’ll have to see if they keep adding new titles. For now, this is a fun way to engage kids in a way that could lead to them asking to pick up an actual, physical, book.