With the rise of digital and increased portability of small displays with computers behind them, the print industry is looking at quite the bleak future. Indeed, while I do have a physical subscription to Wired magazine, the hard copy usually goes straight from the mailbox to the back of our toilet. By the time the physical magazine arrives, I’ve typically already downloaded and read the digital version on my iPad.
I prefer the digital copy, too – it has videos embedded, live links, and is simply more engaging to me. However, that’s purely an entertainment example. What about something a bit more difficult to ‘digitize’, like a Study Bible? Study Bibles are meant to be used as spiritual research tools, and somewhat like a diary. I know my personal bible is now covered in duct tape, since I’ve had it for so long that the cover has worn off. I can’t replace it though, because during its use, I’ve scribbled notes here and there in the margins. Notes that, at one point, helped me see a verse more clearly or offered up some insight that I hadn’t seen before. It’s not as easy – yet – to scribble those notes in the margin on a digital copy. Sure, the Kindle lets you highlight and make notes, but you have to type them out and you lose the passion that scrawling affords you.
Recently, though, we picked up a new Bible for Christina that offers an interesting balance between my iPad-based Wired magazine and my duct tape-bound study Bible - the Life Essentials Study Bible. It was put together by Gene Getz, and in addition to the normal extra definitions and side-notes that a Study Bible normally includes, he’s put together over 250 hours of video content, hosted it online, and then inserted QR codes throughout the chapters. You can scan the codes to get directly to the appropriate video for that passage, to get some additional video insights that you wouldn’t get by simply reading the words.
Personally, I think this is really brilliant for a few reasons:
1. It’s a unique approach to bridging the digital and the analog. You have a print book with direct links (easy ones, no less) to digital content. Brilliant.
2. Over 250 hours of video is a TON. Realistically speaking, it likely took at least an entire year JUST to determine where the videos should be inserted in the text, script the videos, shoot them, process them, upload them, and then generate QR codes for them, and insert those QR codes in the text in the correct place. That’s in addition to whatever time it took to add the other notes and extras here and there.
3. The use of QR code is fascinating. Why not short URLs? QR codes are easier, especially for an older generation – simply hold your phone up to the page and boom. Done.
I know Christina is excited to start using her new Study Bible, and I’ll be teaching her how to use these ‘fancy’ codes with her smartphone this evening. What a great way to bring the Scriptures alive.