Dr. Harvey Levenson, Cal Poly professor emeritus, is a familiar figure at PRINT 17. He’s also a familiar name in the printing industry, having taught and consulted on print technology for more than 50 years.
This year, at the Ricoh USA booth (2022), Professor Levenson and former Seybold editor John Parsons are introducing a new, hybrid media approach to book publishing. Tentatively dubbed “the multi-book,” the printed volume will serve as a gateway to related multimedia content using RICOH’s Clickable Paper technology.
A prototype of the book will be available at PRINT 17. On Monday, September 11, Levenson and Parsons will be at the Ricoh booth for a signing event. The full, digitally enhanced version of the book, “Introduction to Graphic Communication, Second Edition”, will be printed, using a RICOH Pro VC60000 inkjet press, in early 2018.
“Printing Industries of America (PIA) (Booth 3802) published my original book in 2007,” Levenson says. “It sold very well, but ten years is a long time. Many schools have requested an update, especially to include new mobile-based publishing technologies. I reached out to John, who has written extensively about new media. PIA was gracious enough to transfer the publishing rights to us.”
The birth of an idea
The collaboration produced an interesting notion. “John proposed that we add a multimedia component to the book, giving readers access to video, audio, and other online media,” says Levenson. “That immediately led me to think of Ricoh’s Clickable Paper.”
With Ricoh’s help, the authors began creating what they consider a first-ever book-publishing project. “Access to online video and audio was only the beginning,” Parsons says. “Think about all the things that can happen on a mobile device. If it’s available online, in a mobile-friendly format, then users can access it from any page in the book.”
Among the online media offerings planned for the book are online video, animation, audio, static worksheets (in PDF), pop quizzes, and external websites. Levenson and Parsons are also exploring the use of Viddler’s interactive portal for secure video training. Reader/student interactions will include live chat (text and video), online forums, email threads, and other functions accessible via Clickable Paper.
“Having the flexibility to combine digital and print extends the life of truly valuable content,” says John Fulena, VP, Commercial & Industrial Printing Business Group, Ricoh USA. “When show attendees take a look at Ricoh, it will be clear there’s never been more to see—from Clickable Paper through to the RICOH Pro VC60000. We’re proud to collaborate with fellow innovators to help empower our industry to work smarter and leverage new technology innovations.”
Print remains crucial
At the core of this idea is the fact that a printed book is inherently valuable. “Digital media is changing the way we discover, learn, and interact,” Parsons says, “but it’s really hard to manage. A printed book can be the familiar, reliable platform for controlling the digital learning experience.”
Levenson feels the project will be a publishing milestone—combining print and digital into a single user experience. “This is not an eBook, but a printed book that ‘talks and explains’ and enhances the readers’ understanding of its contents.” He is introducing the concept at future publishing and graphic communication conferences, at which he will be speaking.