A new digital experience blurs line between reading books and digital art

A new digital experience blurs line between reading books and digital art

Itu Chaudhuri Design has launched the Re:Reader, a digital experience celebrating Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. As part of the launch Lisa Rath, principal and digital head, ICD was in conversation with artist and writer Shuddhabrata Sengupta who spoke about literature, art and the digital experience.


Lisa Rath (left), principal and digital head, ICD was in conversation with artist and writer Shuddhabrata Sengupta (right)

The  Re:Reader  is a digital experience that blurs the lines between reading books and digital art. ICD says, “We think it’s a new and relevant way to reach younger and older audiences.”

“I’d call it Utmost Perennial. It’s a new, fun way of introducing a book to people who haven’t read it. And another way of enjoying it is for people who have. And it’ll be out there—everywhere—without an expiry date. Really lovely,” says Arundhati Roy about Re:Reader.


Arundhati Roy at Icd

At a basic level, it’s for millennial readers who spend a disproportionate time on their mobile phones;  Re:Reader  may trigger a visit to the nearest book store or online marketplace to buy the book. Yet it’s not like selling, but a light touch that people can experience joyfully, even if they go no further.  But more than that, it invites the reader to engage in an ergodic form of reading and experiencing a novel. A re-reading, so to speak.

This experience may act as a catalyst to read the book, and for those who have read it to add an experiential layer to it.

Re:Reader  has snippets of text from the XII chapters of the book. Animations show the text in a new light; music brings the period to life, and with portions read by Arundhati Roy, it makes for a dreamy, heady ride. It allows the reader to go back, forward, skip and play around with the toy as they wish. Each click delivers a different reward, a little as it would be if you could talk to the author one to one. Each reader will take a different path, and therefore differently experience the book, its mood and its narration.


2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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