Well, it looks like Push Pop Press’s first release will also be its last. The e-publishing startup has been acquired by Facebook, which intends to adapt Push Pop’s e-book platform for integration with Facebook’s design.
Coincidentally, I compared Push Pop Press to Facebook in my original post, arguing that e-books still have a long way to develop before they offer the level of interaction that makes Facebook so appealing. But apparently Push Pop’s design was plenty appealing to Facebook, and now instead of contributing to the development of interactive e-books, Push Pop Press’s innovative technology will merely provide some bells and whistles for the already thoroughly interactive social networking powerhouse, Facebook.
Push Pop Press released its first title, Our Choice by Al Gore, on April 28th. Many have hailed the interactive book for the iPad and iPhone as a revolutionary step into the future of ebooks, while others say it’s little more than a glorified website on a platform destined to be a one-hit wonder. Regardless of which side you take, Push Pop Press raises questions about the digitalization of literary publishing, while offering itself as a potential solution.
Co-founders Kimon Tsinteris and Mike Matas told Wired that they intend to release Push Pop Press as an affordable, user-friendly layout program primarily to be used by small publishers wanting to create their own book apps.
Sounds great, right? An affordable way to go digital by custom designing your own app in-house? But Our Choice’s interactive components are mini-documentaries and charts—what should a book app contain, say, for a novel? Must all literary presses and magazines move in the direction of literary magazine Electric Literature, with multimedia presentations of the text?
Considering the attention Electric Literature is receiving, that may be a good idea. But really, I think Push Pop Press and other multimedia designs are just baby steps toward a more complex understanding of how a book can be interactive. Facebook isn’t boomingly popular because users can watch videos on it, but because of the social connections they can foster while watching them. The ability to blow on a virtual windmill while reading about solutions for global warming isn’t true interaction, yet.