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Digital Library Wallpaper lets visitors 'borrow' ebooks by scanning your walls

Digital Library Wallpaper lets visitors 'borrow' ebooks by scanning your walls

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Experiments like Night Film have blurred the lines between physical books and digital content, but a project by Vodafone Romania and furniture retailer MobExpert blur the lines between paper books, ebooks, and interior decoration. Digital Library Wallpaper is exactly what it sounds like: a flat representation of books bearing QR codes on their spines. Using an online tool, buyers can pick between a handful of different designs, then assign titles to each volume from a pre-selected list of free content and do some minor visual customization. If visitors pull out their phones and scan the QR code, they can download the book to their phone or tablet.

It's the rough equivalent of lending a favorite book to a friend, but with zero chance you'll lose it. Well, except that the shelf is limited to what you can find on the Digital Library site and that, as far as we can tell, you can't put more books on the shelf once you buy it. Also, ebooks are only licensed to Vodafone through September of 2014, which means you might end up with a shelf full of dead books. Also, each shelf-paper costs the equivalent of over $100. Also, no one has ever, ever scanned a QR code. It's a real product, but it's effectively also a proof of concept, commissioned by Vodafone to promote mobile data usage.

As a proof of concept, though, it's an interesting intersection of physical and digital that doesn't have to be limited to books. Instead of the (somewhat tacky) wallpaper, a decorator might put up art with a discreet code, allowing guests to scan it for details and context. Visit an apartment and like the painting? You can find the artist and see more of their work. Want to make sure your guests understand the obscure poster you've put up? Link to an essay or movie. Leaving aside the hurdles of copyright law, you could really just print your own codes and stick them on existing books, though you wouldn't reap the space-saving benefits. And if Google Glass catches on, you might not even have to do that.