Google experiments with 'books that can't be printed'

Perfect for Choose Your Own Adventure books

Google Editions at Play

While Amazon may be taking over the e-reader category, and others may prefer the smell of the printed page, Google is experimenting with "books that can't be printed."

Editions at Play is an experiment coming out of Google Australia. These books are made specifically for smartphones and incorporate interactive elements as part of the story.

This might me exploring story locations in Street View, switching between two different characters' perspectives, or even including games.

"Simply put, we wanted to see if we could keep the integrity of reading, but play with the book's digital form," Google Australia wrote in a blog post.

Playing with storytelling

The concept of interactive books isn't new - JK Rowling's Pottermore originally presented similar interactive "story telling" for the Harry Potter series, and there are online literary journals, like The NonBinary Review from Zoetic Press, that offer interactive elements as well.

But Google's Editions at Play brings a much bigger platform for authors interested in writing and developing interactive books.

Currently, there are two books up for exploring: Reif Larsen's Entrances & Exits, which has you exploring the story through Street View, and The Truth About Cats & Dogs, which lets you check out the story from different perspectives and encourages you to take notes.

There are two more Editions at Play books scheduled to come out in April, and Google is asking people to tweet ideas for future interactive books.

Article continues below