The technology-driven, experiential future of reading

By January 28, 2016General

Is reading about to get experiential? Reading a novel isn’t what it used to be. There you sit, nose stuck in a book, when your phone buzzes with a text from your mum.

After a long back-and-forth with her, you have a quick peek at Instagram, and toggle over to Twitter to see if you’ve gained any new followers from your last tweet. No? Well, it’s only been a couple minutes. Back to the book; you can check Twitter again after a page.

We are all guilty of this, but what if all these distractions were part of the story?

A new romance book app, Crave, which launched late in 2015, has re-imagined the reading experience for today’s technology-addicted consumer, by embracing these breaks in concentration.


As you scroll through an ebook on Crave, the app periodically breaks into the narrative to show you a text message conversation between two characters, a video of an actor portraying one of the characters, or a filmed moment (like the hero first looking at the heroine).

In fact, texts, notifications, GIFs – every part of how we communicate becomes part of the storytelling medium in Crave’s platform.

App features

Crave’s format supposes that readers today are impatient and drawn; thus delivering content in small chunks each day.

Readers receive a notification when their mini-chapter is ready, which is great for those times when you cannot sit down for hours to enjoy a book. Not only will you see the next chapter waiting for you, but you’ll also enjoy an encounter with the sizzling leading man, and exclusive extras like quizzes, videos, and photos.

What can marketers learn from Crave?

The Crave experience is the book industry’s response to a smart phone app landscape teeming with instant-gratification machines. It is a completely immersive experience – a hybrid between e-reading, watching a web series, and stalking people’s social media accounts.

The main thing that marketers can take from this approach is that traditional story-telling is outdated. If you want your brand story to stand out and be relevant in the digital economy, you have to bring it to life and immerse your audience in it.

Crave achieves this by turning the male protagonists into tangible creatures – men with handsome features and gravelly voices; men who send readers intriguing texts at night. It brings the fantasy one step closer to reality.

The formula relies on leaving the female lead out of it altogether so readers can easily project themselves into her position.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on