Redefining the E-Book Experience

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

Related Articles

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less

Giving octopuses ecstasy reveals surprising link to humans

A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.

Image: damn_unique via Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
  • Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
  • Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
Keep reading Show less

Why drawing isn’t just an art

There's a growing understanding that drawing is much more than an art form: it's a powerful tool for learning.

(GoaShape via Unsplash)
Mind & Brain
  • We often think of drawing as something that takes innate talent, but this kind of thinking stems from our misclassification of drawing as, primarily, an art form rather than a tool for learning.
  • Researchers, teachers, and artists are starting to see how drawing can positively impact a wide variety of skills and disciplines.
  • Drawing is not an innate gift; rather, it can be taught and developed. Doing so helps people to perceive the world more accurately, remember facts better, and understand their world from a new perspective.
Keep reading Show less