Watching this demo of Penguin’s post-book concepts for the iPad, which features interactive books for kids, travel guides and the like, I was struck by the possibilities for fiction. Imagine a novel with text that changes depending on your location, chapters that reorder themselves according to the time of day, or characters who forget their umbrellas and get soaked if it’s raining where you’re reading.
I’m really hoping for something to match what BS Johnson’s The Unfortunates did to the printed novel. But I wouldn’t mind a good mystery which overlaid a treasure map on the real world, or even a Choose Your Own Adventure for grown ups with chapters unlocked by solving Augmented Reality Game-like puzzles.
Of course, there will be location-aware iPad equivalents of Fay Weldon’s The Bulgari Connection, too. If you’re in range of a Starbucks, our heroine might sip thoughtfully from her Frappuccino, but nibble pensively on the Sandwich of the Week when there’s a Pret A Manger over the road. Enter the franchise in question and your iPad will ping, signalling the arrival of a promotional coupon in your inbox. Oh, well.