If you have one, you know it's tempting to read stuff on your smartphone, wherever you may be. Of course, the lack of a WiFi signal underground means you can't be reading whatever it may be on the subway. But what if you could swipe your device over, say a poster, and get some free reading material, courtesy of your local public library?
Keri Tan and Ferdi Rodriguez, for the New York Public Library, as a way of reaching the public, encouraging people to go visit their nearest library. Tan describes the project as an attempt to
Bring New Yorkers back to the NY Public Library by providing them with entertainment while on the subway.
Using Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology -- which allows the smartphones that do have it to establish radio communication with each other by touch or close proximity -- users scan a subway poster to download the first ten pages of a book.
Once the reader is finished with the short sample, they will be redirected to the closest public library with a hardcopy of the book.
It's hard to tell whether compulsive smartphone readers would find this inconveniently frustrating or a good excuse to walk into their local branch -- not to mention that the project's success would hinge on the titles selected to be sampled. Nevertheless, it's a potentially fascinating segue that would piggyback real paper books on top of the growing trend of electronic reading via smart devices -- possibly helping to effectively offset declining numbers of people visiting mortar and brick libraries. More over at Keri Tan's website.