Innovation That Matters

Smart bookmark lets authors tweet at readers who have neglected their novel

Publishing & Media

Brazil-based Penguin-Companhia's Tweet For a Read campaign has created a bookmark that can detect if readers haven't opened their novel recently and tweets a reminder to pick it back up.

Authors writing traditional novels have always had to work hard to attract readers, but the job is made even more difficult in the age of the internet attention span. Smartphones and the web serve as a perennial distraction from reading, contributing to entire shelves of books left abandoned at chapter 3. Argentina-based publisher Eterna Cadencia has in the past printed books with vanishing ink to add a sense of urgency to completing them, and now the Tweet For a Read campaign is using a bookmark that can detect if readers haven’t opened their novel recently and tweets a reminder to pick it back up.

Created by Brazil’s Penguin-Companhia publishing house, the bookmark is equipped with a light sensor, a timer and a miniature wifi-enabled computer. The light sensor detects when the book has been closed, and the timer keeps tabs on how long readers have neglected their novel. If they leave it for longer than a week, a tweet is sent from the writer’s account reminding them that they should start reading again. Each tweet is composed in the style of the author, or using relevant phrases from the book in question.

Watch the video below to see the bookmark in action:

The project enables those who get sidetracked by social media to use the platform to remind them to set aside some time away from it, and enjoy a good book instead. Authors could also possibly get feedback on how often their book is being neglected judging by how many tweets are made. Are there other ways for publishers to use technology to ensure their offline books don’t get abandoned due to short attention spans?



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