Print catalogs are still alive and well.

Print catalogs are still alive and well, proving to be an enduring way of connecting with consumers, as we note in our recent report on “The Future of Correspondence.” But increasingly catalogs will also bridge the physical/digital divide, thanks to augmented reality. Last year Ikea added an “X-Ray” feature to its catalog—one of the most widely distributed texts in the world—that allows readers to peer inside products and see, for instance, what a cabinet interior looks like. For the 2014 catalog, customers can place virtual furniture pieces into real-life rooms simply by scanning products with a smartphone or tablet and laying the catalog on the relevant spot on the floor. It’s an ingenious way to add functionality to analog media.

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