Books have a way of opening a gateway to imagination, knowledge, and entertainment.
Now, with the inclusion of technology, books are engaging the imagination with full on sensory immersion. From sound effects to 3D illustrations, augmented reality to choose your own adventure, engineered books are becoming increasingly popular among readers of all ages.
In this article, we will explore the world of engineered books and the innovative ways technology is revolutionizing the way we read.
What are engineered books?
Engineered books are books which combine traditional elements, such as text and images, with interactive and technical features.
Whether it's pressing a button to activate a sound or light or running fingers over different surfaces, these books are designed to actively engage the reader with the book’s content.
In doing so, they provide a fun and engaging way of learning and exploring while preserving the benefits of traditional books, such as improving literacy and language skills.
It comes as no surprise that engineered books become increasingly popular, especially among children and younger readers.
What are the benefits of engineered books?
Let’s get into some of the benefits these multimedia books have for children.
It’s been well documented that kids have different learning styles. Some are auditory, some visual, and some tactile (those that learn by doing).
With the inclusion of multimedia features, such as sounds, lights or buttons, authors can create special and engaging experiences that captivate young readers no matter how they learn best.
Engineered books automatically stimulate the reader's imagination and senses, providing a multi-sensory experience. Children not only see the illustrations but also have the opportunity to touch and hear, promoting their perceptual and sensory development.
Here’s a post we made about the underlying psychology we used to create a computer engineering book for children.
Each read a unique experience
Engineered books provide individual reading experiences, allowing readers to create/shape it as desired. This feature adds variability and excitement to the reading process.
Books like The Numberlys take a ‘AR app + book’ approach in which the accompanying AR app can only be activated by the content in the picturebook.
With their blend of traditional storytelling and interactive features, these books are becoming a valuable and enjoyable tool for children's literacy development.
Let’s check out a few of our favorite engineered books!
Our favorite engineered books
Not to be confused with the children's book, Engineered!! Here are our favorite Engineered Books (though the book Engineered is another favorite book of ours for kids for teaching STEM).
A comparatively new version of engineered books is the electronic book. Electronic books offer readers the capability to play music, generate sounds, make lights blink and more.
Learn about logic gates before they can say the word logic gates. Know what a Zebra sounds like before they've seen one in real life. It's all possibly with electronic books.
These interactive features are made possible through the integration of a microchip within thicker paperboard pages or covers of the book.
Pop-up books stimulate the children’s imagination and creativity by allowing them to recreate and transform the illustrated pages, providing an interactive hands-on experience.
Through cutting, folding, and manipulating the pages, as well as lifting flaps to reveal hidden story elements or turning cardboard wheels - these books let children actively participate in the storytelling process.
- Nursery Rhymes: A Classic Collectible Pop-up
- A Little Bit of Oopmh!
- Discovering the hidden Woodland World
Busy books (aka quiet books) typically involve different tactile elements like fabric, felt and other textures to promote children’s sensory development.
They further include varieties of activities, such as matching games, counting or sorting activities, and simple mazes. These activities aim to promote early learning and problem-solving skills.
- “My farm day” Quiet book
- Disney Winnie the Pooh Classic Busy Book
- Melissa & Doug K's Kids My First Activity
The technology behind engineered books is constantly evolving. One popular advancement is the use of augmented reality (AR) technology.
We already mentioned how books like The Numberlys are using the AR + book format, but here are a few of books using this new medium right!
Those are our favorite Engineered books, but engineered books actually have a close relative, the Board Book.
Board Books - the close relative to Engineered books
A close relative to the Engineered Book is the Baby/board (the superheroes of books).
These books are closer on the spectrum to the traditional book, but they're made of tough cardboard and coated in plastic armor, they fearlessly endure the bumps, splashes, and teething of little ones.
Some of these books tell stories without words, showing familiar objects like shoes or spoons, while others have simple words or short phrases alongside colorful illustrations. It's a world of exploration for tiny adventurers.
But back to Engineered Books...ChatGPT is proving that technology can quickly come into our lives and change everything. So with books becoming more animatronic, what does the future of Engineered Books look like?
Future of engineered books
As technology continues to evolve, engineered books will become even more immersive and interactive, providing readers with a truly unique and personalized reading experience.
How cool would this be?! ->
A book that has pages that contain QR codes. When these QR codes are scanned, a Star Wars like holoprojector gets emitted out of your phone’s camera. You place your holoprojector-emitting-phone back on the book and from there the AI programmed hologram walks you through that page's adventure.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, that type of book is a while out (but make sure to subscribe to our newsletter in case we get it figured out first ;) ).
For now, here are the best places to buy the engineered books available today.
Best places to buy engineered books
Engineered books can be purchased online or in bookstores. Some popular online retailers that specialize in engineered books include Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Many independent bookstores also carry a selection of engineered books.
Our favorite place to search though? The communities you are already a part of.
Are you in a Facebook group for new moms? Post a question about the community's favorite engineered book. Are you a regular on a certain Reddit sub? Shoot the community a question.
Engineered books are transforming the traditional reading experience by integrating new multimedia features. With their immersive and interactive elements, they captivate readers of all ages, offering a blend of entertainment and education. Engineered books serve as a means of enjoyable reading and learning, promoting children’s sensory and imaginative development.
As technology continues to evolve, the future of engineered books looks promising. With innovations and advancements on the horizon, we are excited about what will come in the future.
We mentioned it a few times throughout this post, Computer Engineering for Babies, that’s our Engineered book. We’d love to hear what you think about it, grab your copy below.