For a rundown of the biggest developments in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality from the past 12 months, check out our 2016 roundup, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality – The Year In Review. And for a look ahead, check out the 5 top Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology trends for 2017.

Over the past eight years, time spent with print media has declined as younger readers have flocked to digital readers, tablets and smartphones. To engage budding readers with print media, some early innovators in publishing have been toying with Augmented Reality books. Here is our list of the five must-see Augmented Reality book examples:

1. ‘Wonderbook™: Book of Spells from J.K. Rowling’

Released in November of 2012, “Wonderbook™: Book of Spells” for PlayStation 3 is an Augmented Reality book experience that works with the PlayStation Move Motion Controller and the PlayStation Eye Camera. The book-slash-game transforms readers into students of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. Using the motion sensitive controller as a magic wand, readers can cast spells as they read through pages. “This is an extraordinary device that offers a reading experience like no other,” says J.K. Rowling. Reviews of the book suggest that the book not only captures the magical spirit of Harry Potter, but that it is a perfect use of the Move controller.

2. ‘Princess and her Pals 3-D’ from Popar Interactive Books for Kids

Augmented Reality storybooks are the next generation of pop-up books for children and Popar Toys is at the center of this trend. Ordinary pages come alive with 3-D animated princesses, castle environments, read-alongs and games to enhance learning. Illustrations spring to life with detailed animations when a smartphone or tablet with the “Princess and her Pals 3-D” Popar app is hovered over them. Princess and her Pals is part of a six book interactive series, that includes “3-D Bugs”,” 3-D Dinosaurs,” “3-D Planets” and “3-D Construction.”  Targeted to ages 5 to 11,  Popar’s Augmented Reality books received “Best Toy of the Toy Fair 2012” from the The View. The Augmented Reality toys-slash-books also won the National Parenting Seal of Approval 2012 and “Two Thumbs Up” from Inside Media.

3. ‘Moby Dick’ from Interactive Novels by Penguin Books

Penguin Books partnered with Zappar to enhance the pages of classic novels from their English Library with Augmented Reality book experiences. Featuring titles like “Moby Dick” and “Great Expectations,” the series uses AR to bring the covers of select classic novels to life along with allowing users to “like” Penguin Books on Facebook. This print to AR hybrid experience was initially released for four titles, but Penguin continues to release experiences for their collection of some of the best English novels.  More gimmick and less value add, we salute Penguin Books for endeavoring to bring the magic of great writing to a generation of readers who expect more than just words on a page. Read more on VentureBeat

4. ‘Monsters Inc., An Augmented Reality Book’

As a part of a larger Augmented Reality book series, Carlton Books Kids recently released an Augmented Reality book of Disney’s Monster’s Inc. This Augmented Reality book invites readers to explore Monstropolis using their PC webcam. The AR experience allows kids to virtually “dress up” as a monster, interact with animated monsters and find out exclusive facts about their favorite characters.

5. ‘King of the Railway, An Augmented Reality Book with Thomas & Friends’

Created by Carlton Books Kids, the magical minds behind iDinosaur and iSolarSystem, The upcoming film “King of the Railway with Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends,” will be accompanied by a licensed Augmented Reality in September 2013. The story will engage young readers with four unique Augmented Reality experiences that are viewable on a smartphone or tablet through a free companion app. Readers will be able to interact with the familiar faces of Thomas and Friends and meet the new characters from the film. Big plus: Word is that  fans will finally be able to take the engineer’s seat and drive Thomas the Tank Engine.

What’s Next for Augmented Reality Books?

Hybrid interactive books and mixed reality toys are an emerging category that is on the verge of exploding. In 2012, the first time the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project began systematically tracking smartphone adoption, it showed a majority of Americans now own a smartphone of some kind. This stunning shift will turn the niche, experimental category of Augmented Reality books into a serious mass market opportunity. Within a few years, everyone from budding readers to college students will come to expect rich, supplemental experiences that go beyond words on paper.

The books that we think would be amazing in Augmented Reality include  ‘The Hunger Games,” “Twilight,” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Of course, it goes without saying that we’d want to go swimming with a companion book to the 2014 release of the “Finding Nemo” sequel. Who wouldn’t?