Every now and then, you’ll meet someone who loves physical books. Maybe you’re that person. But increasingly the p-book (physical book) lover is a minority. Ever since Amazon released the Kindle, it now sells more e-books than it sells physical books: Amazon reported that it sold 115 e-books for every 100 physical books it sold in 2011. Unfortunately, e-books are still very much the same as physical books: they are static, their content is not updated nor do they include videos or interactive infographics. This means that the experience of reading a book has not really changed despite the fact that thanks to the Web, we are now accustomed to real-time, creative and interactive content.
Needless to say, there are numerous startups that are sprouting specifically to give the lumbering publishing industry the ability to jazz up content. The most promising of these was shown at TED 2011 in Long Beach earlier this year. Pop Push Press, started by two former Apple employees, aims to provide “a new digital publishing platform that's redefining the way we publish and experience books.” Their flagship sample book is Al Gore’s “Our Choice” and the book-app can be downloaded on your iPhone and iPad. David Pogue of the New York Times reviewed the book and said the book created by Pop Push Press "might actually live up to the boast.”
We downloaded the book app and were really impressed with the new reading experience enabled by the company. As Pogue says, “The interactivity, the zooming into graphic elements and the videos aren’t a gimmick. They actually add up to a different experience. The book feels more Web-like; at your leisure, you can jump from the main river of text into one of these deeper dives. Yet there’s no fear of falling off the primary train of thought.”
If you have an iPhone/iPad/iPod, we highly recommend downloading “Our Choice”. Not only is it an intelligent and interesting book, its format is the first peek into what your book experience will become in the next few years. It might be time to kiss those physical books goodbye after all. If you’re not convinced, check out the great demo given at TED:
Pop Push Publish is primarily aimed at publishers and priced up to $100,000 to develop a book. However, we’ll see cheaper consumer e-book publishing platforms eventually that will make it much easier for anyone to create an interactive and immersive book reading experience.
Ayesha and Parag Khanna explore human-technology co-evolution and its implications for society, business and politics at The Hybrid Reality Institute