Mike Matas

Paper - Product Designer, Push Pop Press

This conversation is closed.

LIVE CHAT with Mike Matas: Monday, May 2nd, 1PM-2:30PM EST *UPDATE: Extended through May 6th*

Mike is online Monday May 2nd, from 1-2:30PM Eastern Standard Time for a live TED Conversation regarding his TED talk and next-generation digital book, Al Gore's "Our Choice".

Join with questions about:

--How Push Pop Press tried to retain what people love about books when translating into a digital form
--The user interface design for the book
--How the app is different than a website
--Mike's views and thoughts on where computer user interfaces are heading.
--Your own questions

ADMIN EDIT: Mike has asked us to keep the thread open until Friday! He (and potentially some of his colleagues at Push Pop Press), will be checking in occasionally to answer more questions throughout the week.

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    May 3 2011: Thank you for making an amazing book and pushing the envelope on digital publishing.

    Since we are in such early state of digital publishing, what is your take on the competition? Ex- Adobe, Woodwing, etc.
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    May 2 2011: As a teacher I see books like these could get much more children back to reading (if you can call it reading). Thanks a lot, Mike!
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      May 2 2011: Thank Gaits. Melcher Media the team that produced the content for Our Choice had a goal of telling the entire story of the text though images, videos, and interactive graphics. Even if you never read the body text in the book and just look though the images and videos and read the captions you will still get a lot out of the book. Different people learn in different ways and I think this medium opens up the information to a much wider audience than before.
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      May 2 2011: I'd agree with you Gatis. I've always been a voracious reader, but what Mike has created could've added a new element to my readings, especially the science fiction books.

      On a side, but related note, I don't think getting kids to read books has really been an issue. I think the reasons that kids are asked to read are conflicting in schools and at home. We have educators like yourself who will use these books as a positive tool. Then we have other educators who use reading as a form of punishment. The latter was put to use more frequently in my education and at home.
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        May 2 2011: I can definitely agree with you, Corvida!
        I see that medium is very important in delivering the knowledge and traditional books are a little "too old-school" for most of the students. As Mike says - even if you never read the body text in the book and just look though the images and videos and read the captions you will still get a lot out of the book. I see it as a perfect tool for my students in class and at home.
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          May 2 2011: Are the books old-school or is the content of the books old school?

          I see a lot of "historical" titles that are put on kids reading lists in schools today. What's hailed in high regard in literature is usually irrelevant in many ways (though not ALL the time) to my generation (Millennial) from a historical standpoint.

          The visuals help, but even with the visuals I can name a few peers who would pass on the TOPIC. : )

          Though I do agree that pictures and videos certainly help to capture attention and extend engagement.
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    May 2 2011: Any plans to make this service available to people outside the sphere of apple Ipad & Iphone? Android in the pipeline?
  • May 5 2011: Hey Mike!

    My nephew wants me to ask you, dose your idea come from the newspaper of Harry Potter?
  • May 2 2011: Publishing to multiple platforms can be time-consuming and expensive.
    What made you decide to make the book available for IOS devices instead of Android or other platforms? Will the book be available for Android devices in the future as well? Will the publishing platform support Android devices?
  • May 2 2011: Hi Mike

    I was wondering if you guys have thought about including Charities or NGOs, in the beta programme?
  • May 2 2011: I think PPP looks and works great, though I find it very limiting that it is only available on Apple products. Are there plans to make the same books available (albeit potentially in a slightly different format) on a) other tablet computers and b) on mouse/keyboard computers?

    One way to solve this is to have web versions (possibly only accessible via paid subscriptions) of those books, to make them more accessible. With current web technologies (HTML4/CSS/JS/Flash), all of the features I've seen in PPP are possible, though admittedly, a good implementation would be quite difficult/time consuming. With HTML5 however, a good implementation would take a reasonable amount of effort to make, and would be available to a much, much larger audience. Are there any such plans in PPP's future?

    I think the whole idea is fantastic, I just hope it can be more accessible.

    Oh and as for the name, I like the name multimedium myself... i.e. Our Choice is the first true multimedium. The plural being multimediums, of course.
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    May 2 2011: Thanks again for answering our questions Mike.

    I'm wondering how you see the longevity of the digital book evolve over time. Right now, an ebook lives on my device and as a backup file living inside my device's backup data. If I leave the platform, I lose access to the book. Forever. Where do you see compatibility/transportability of digital books taking us in the next few years? Will my kids be able to check out Our Choice years from now on their own tablets?
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    May 2 2011: Mike,

    I come from online scholarly journal/book publishing and I love the elegant design and ease of use you demo-ed during the TED talk. I've noticed that many book apps for the iPad and for the web have tried to mimic the user experience for print as much as possible (e.g. page turning, book marks, page numbers, etc.). To what extent do you think we will start to see departures from that design model for books in the future? What will be the most significant change? And, in your opinion is the barrier to change mostly technological or mostly behavioral/cultural?

    --Julie
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      May 2 2011: I see one of the biggest barriers to the change from print to digital to be the experience of reading. A lot of people I talk with say that they love the experience of reading a printed book because they can immerse themselves in the content and "get lost in the book". I think in the transition form print to digital we can not loose that ability to get lost in the content. The focus has to stay on the content rather than the technology.
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        May 2 2011: Thanks Mike -- I agree 100%. One of the frustrations users have with web-based material is having to figure out how it works and whether or not they have access. Digital rights management solutions now in place for much online material impede the user's progress through the material (not to mention distracting ads and pop-up surveys). The beauty of an app is that you get the ease of navigation without the barriers and distractions.

        Thanks for doing the live Q&A!
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    May 2 2011: I love the navigation of your digital book. Other magazine apps lose me. Will I be able to buy your creation software and then self publish my own work?
  • May 2 2011: What was the thought process that went into designing the interface for this product (i.e. what were the key points you and your team wanted to address for transitioning from traditional to digital)?
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      May 2 2011: We though a lot about the balance between reinventing the book and moving forward with some of the things that make todays books great. We did not want the interactivity to make the content more complex and harder to navigate so we decided to stay with the traditional form of an author telling a linear story. We made sure each page had something interesting to explore but also required about the same amount of time to explore so the pace that you move though the book would be steady. You always feel like your making progress and moving though the book. To help with that we decided to show a little bit of the previous and next page to give you a sense that this was one continues narrative. I find it a little claustrophobic when you just see one page with no sense of there people more to the book. When you hold a printed book you can see the edge of the book and can see your holding a book and you kinda get a rough sense of where you are in the book and where your going. On a screen if you don't go out of your way to show this the reading experience feels really discontinues.
  • May 2 2011: I thought I read in the Wired write up that the tool will be sold and will be aimed not just at publishers, but anyone who wants to publish in this format. Assuming that my understanding/recollection is correct - I'm curious as to what kind of learning curve there will be for a tool like this? Will it be all drag and drop, or will you have to know Objective C to use it?
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      May 2 2011: The platform we are building is not a development environment but are a layout tool (and much more user-friendly), but we can’t announce any specific details on the product quite yet.
      • May 2 2011: Can you tell us when it will be sold?
      • May 2 2011: Mike - that is very encouraging to hear! Heck, even if parents could compose simple picture books for their children for home use, this would still be outstanding. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what the tools look like when they are available!
  • May 2 2011: Hi Mike - I'm excited by the platform approach. Do you intend to license to only publishers, or also to authors for self-publication? Any estimates on timeframes? Any rough idea on business model of license?
  • May 6 2011: Mike, what you, Gore, et al. are creating is an expanded Experience-bequeathing Exposition: an Experion. Or whatever. As such, you're going far beyond provoking the imagination and sense of experience that a treasured book does so often.

    But I believe at least as you've begun with Gore and Choice, you're selling yourselves short. You're way beyond "informing" or "information" that you indicated as your contribution in a post here. You're in the wondrous land of Learning and Knowledge generation. Although I'm hardcore Apple, here I have to give a credit nod to Google and their signature requirements: accessibility and usefulness.

    Particularly for non-experts, ordinary folk, which is vast for Our Choice, the visual tools and ease of use make a convoluted, controversial topic such as climate change, understandable, i.e., assimilable.

    It is learning and knowledge we can use to better our lives, that should be the desired result, product, value of technology. For only with learning creating knowledge and understanding, can we act to make our own lives and by extension our world better and better.

    Certainly Al Gore wants us to above all learn and understand Climate Change and with that knowledge—Act: in this case, vote, write letters, convince others, etc. Many other people working with PPP will want to empower people as well in their own realms.

    Push Pop Press' promise to me is not just "informing," but providing real comprehension through these Experions or whatever you choose to call them. Congrats on an invention of real societal merit!
  • May 6 2011: Will you be designing space for advertisements? (this may have been asked, but didn't see it). I am saying this because the production costs are quite high for well produced content (including photos, videos, flash, what have you, along with rights to content and production time). Most publishers will find this difficult to justify for the majority of their books, as will independent/self-publishers and educators. Something will need to off-set those costs.
  • May 6 2011: It's not what it is, it's how it will be used to address eco-illiteracy
    Conversation: I think this app, book, whatever you want to call it has a great potential to address a core problem that underlines inaction on the environment. The majority of the population, in industry, government, NGOs, the public do not have the basics in understanding what they have or do that impacts the planet. In Canada alone a 1% shift in behavior change in small business alone could mean $2 billion savings. This is not 'tree-hugging', this is about optimizing processes, products and services - it's about greening our collective productivity.

    Will your collaboration foster materials that are well written, factual, technically correct. Can it be used to enhance literacy, not just in schools, but as part of a life learning situation? I certainly think it will make it fun - and fun can be dangerously close to the opportunity to be positive and productive. Mike, did you consider the life cycle costs of using this technology over paper?

    I am particularly interested in how it can optimize learning in small business, to help them go green. Can it actually reduce time and optimize learning? What are the costs? How soon will the product be ready to use?
  • May 5 2011: Hi Mike
    That's great idea,and looking forward to see the digital form
  • May 4 2011: Hi Mike! The first time I saw the book running in a video demo I felt I had to download it right away to experience it (and maybe even read it ;). And so I did! I also thought the future of books (and not only books) in tablet devices and similar must be something like this.

    But I noticed and missed some features I consider key when it comes to the "interaction" with your book. I'm talking about selecting text to copy, highlight or search in a dictionary, changing the font type or size, and other features already built into some more traditional eBook readers.

    Do you think some of those features will be added in the final or future releases of your framework? Thanks a lot!! :)
  • May 4 2011: Regarding "getting rid of the UI" in touch interfaces, how far do you think this can go? Our Choice really benefits from direct manipulation of its content in this way (minimising the use of buttons and icons), but do you think there is potential for use of this approach more widely, for example, in apps where you are creating content rather than manipulating existing content?
  • May 3 2011: Amazing. This is where the ipad is taking us. My son can't understand how I find it so amazing everytime I use my ipad. He sees it as being current whilst this 50 year old finds it so amazing. The point of this is that this is what he has grown to expect. He spends his life using and playing on computers and learning for him has got to make interactive use of text, images, graphics, sound, video and audio.
    As somebody said below this is a solid step towards convergence.
    Brilliant! I'll stop now as if I use amazing one more time you'll start to think I copied this from a Steve Jobs presentation!
    Peter Roddis
    activesafety.org
  • May 3 2011: What do you think of free textbook publishers such as bookboon.com that makes textbooks available for free through ads?
  • May 3 2011: will this platform be availlable for other languages soon? Thanks.
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    May 3 2011: I'm very excited by where digital publishing is headed and would love to try out the Push Pop platform once it's available.
  • May 2 2011: I really don't know what all the fuss is about. This app does not work anyway. It requires WiFi which is not mentioned on the Apple website and if you do find WiFi it simply does not work. For your 5 bucks you get a 3 minute speech from Al Gore and a pretty spinning picture of the world.

    DO NOT BUY THIS APP!
    • May 2 2011: We've heard a few reports of this from users with shaky network connections. We're looking into a software fix but in the meantime follow up with us support@pushpoppress.com. We should be able to get unstuck in no time.
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    May 2 2011: Its a Best Digital book for our modern generation....
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    Leo Bi

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    May 2 2011: Hi there!

    I must say your program brings media rich presentation to a whole new level. It is outstanding.

    The questions I wish to ask are questions to you, and to anyone else you work with, if they would be so kind as to share their thoughts.

    Firstly, why have you (personally) created this?

    Secondly, will you openly share the technology itself, for instance, under open source?

    Thirdly, if you are planning something like opensource, why?
    if you are not considering something like opensource, why not?


    Thanks for your time.

    Leo!
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    May 2 2011: Hi Mike! I'm wondering if the one title - one app approach is a working concept if people have many titles purchased. Are you planning a dedicated reader app (that competes with iBooks)?
    Also, what happens when I buy just 10 titles, but those are ~500 megs each? Will it be possible to delete only the assets of a certain title to gain free space?
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    May 2 2011: your program was so awesome and even i have lot of questions to ask to you mike and well once again thanks thank you very much mike
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    May 2 2011: thanks mike
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    May 2 2011: Thanks everyone for the great discussion and feedback! Im going to leave this conversation open and answer more questions throughout the week.

    Make sure to check out the first title published with Push Pop Press Al Gore's Our Choice: www.pushpoppress.com/ourchoice
  • May 2 2011: Hello Mike
    i just want to Thank you for your inspiring work
    Take care
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    May 2 2011: Hi Mike:

    I was wondering about the cost/scale factors of making an app like this one. It's obviously much more expensive to produce than a simple e-book so are you projecting some sort of profit down the line after you sell x copies or (because it's Al Gore follow-up to An Inconvenient Truth) was this designed as an evangelizing tool?

    In any case, I love the format and I think it's a bargain for the price.

    Carlo
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    May 2 2011: Congrats Mike the Digi-Book looks amazing!

    Referring back to a comment about user's experience, I believe the experience is all about your own preferences Digi or paper print. That already happened with the photograps.

    Question:

    I consider this is a great tool for tuition, so if the future educational books are built up following this system, does the platform allow upgrades/updates on that material? Let's imagine a History Book, every year the information should be updated: Will the users have access to an upgrade for the latest version of the book?

    Thanks.
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    May 2 2011: At what price tag will your platform be? I wonder if it can facilitate self-publishing just like lulu.com is doing?
  • May 2 2011: Hello Mike! Thank you for your program, it's really impressive! And as you may think of traditional books, what do you think about whether they will evolve, and whether there is a niche that you can not replace e-books?
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      May 2 2011: Im sure paper books will be around for a very long time but not as serious way to communicate ideas. Digital books can communicate ideas though text, images, video, audio and interactive graphics but they are also a lot easier to distribute. You don't need to cut down a tree to print the book, you don't need to ship it to a book store, and you don't need to drive to a book store buy the book and you don't need to dispose of it when your done reading it. There is an art to printed books that I don't think will ever go away though. I think printed books will be more about the art of the object rather than the communication of the ideas in object.
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    May 2 2011: Oops I don't know the a of programming and has never seen a an ipad , still to make a place in this thread I would say great work Mike , do you see your application in future in coming days in the android based or the windows based environment
    ?
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    May 2 2011: Mike, you are making reading fun again. As you said, the most important thing is content rather than the technology. For different content, different technology can be used. As a scientist, majority of our publishing experience is to deal with Journals rather than books. Do you envision a future for PushPopPress to reach massive journal client population?

    What is more, is once a scientific paper can be fun, more kids are going to have a "cool" image of scientist. As we all know, America's general public has quite low respect for scientists, partly, is ourselves to blame. Because we are poor in publicizing ourselves...Your platform, if it can help play a part in that, would be so amazing- and change the whole scientific community's image.
  • May 2 2011: Hey Mike!!!

    First i want to tell you that i love your Pics
    GREAT EYES!

    i am a publisher (art book, novel and bio)
    Any way that we can work together? Is your apps for others?

    Peace
    F
  • May 2 2011: Thanks for this chat, it's been interesting, and I've enjoyed playing with the book.

    The only minor interface thing which seemed to throw me when reading/navigating, was that I'd get used to zooming in and out on the items that weren't full screen, and then I'd come to one of the full screen graphics and I'd pinch it to move on and end up going to the chapter contents instead.

    I'm not sure if that's user error, or whether full screen images need something to remind the viewer of this, or whether pinch on a full screen should take you to the next page rather than to the Chapter TOC.
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    May 2 2011: Can you give me a reason why you are not creating this book in iPod Touch? In college campus, iPod touch is more prevalent than iPhone or iPad- based on cost. So if you left out iPod touch platform, mass distribution in higher edu is limited to a fraction of users, and will perhaps introduce barriers when pushing any book in the classroom.
  • May 2 2011: Can you tell us anything about how the interactive pieces were authored and implemented in the book?
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    May 2 2011: Hi Mike, Which are the education publishers you are in contact with that are interested in collaborating with your platform? I love the book, hope more are coming to facilitate education.
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    May 2 2011: This is great! It is always good to have lots of options for everyone. In this technology era young people have a lot of distractions and, anything that you can do or provide to them in order to keep their interest in the learning process it is worth it.
  • May 2 2011: How spacific is the app to the ipad? If a person buys a digital book though your service how does Push Pop Press plan on managing what content people own across devices and platforms?
  • May 2 2011: Didn't Apple give you guys enough freedom to realize such an awesome new platform?
  • May 2 2011: Great technology! 2 questions: Does your technology lend itself to a journal style format where text & photos etc... can be added to the book as an interactive feature? Also, what can a digital book like this expect to retail at. Does it bring the cost up or down?
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    May 2 2011: (Designer here) What is the process by which you conceptualize the interaction of something like this? Is it entirely in your imagination or is there any sort of sufficient tool out there to materialize early stages of your ideas. Do you keep a sketchbook or build ideas in other programs?
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      May 2 2011: I use an application called Quartz Composer to build prototypes of interactive designs. Quartz Composer is somewhere in between a design tool and a programming tool. If you want to give it a try you can get it for free by installing the Apple developer tools. Here is what the development environment for Quartz Composer looks like: http://twitpic.com/2zxphc
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        May 2 2011: That is just for interaction though correct? You don't have much pixel-level control for getting the look and feel down. That would all be done in a pixel based editing program like photoshop? So does the interface in Quartz just look like a blank/solid color interface? Or could you do basic gradients/object styling such as drop shadows/inner glows. (I'm not very familiar with quartz, I'd love to get into it more though.)
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          May 3 2011: Quartz Composer is more about animations and interactivity. For graphics work like drawing icons and buttons I use Photoshop. There are very few buttons and icons in Push Pop Press so these days I spend most of my time using Quartz Composer.
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    May 2 2011: Mike,

    I would be curious to hear a little bit about the development cycle at Push Pop Press.

    What is the progression of events that occurs in creating one of your titles? Does someone approach you wanting to work on a title or do you start mapping out the flow of the app first and think about content later?
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      May 2 2011: To make Al Gore's Our Choice www.ourchoiceapp.com we built a layout tool that allowed the publishers to independently layout the entire book themselves. This allowed them to get creative and try out different ways to telling the story at a much quicker pass than the typical software development cycle.
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        May 2 2011: Seems like an advantageous method that would allow for both parties to focus on elements of the process they are skilled in. I look forward to seeing your strategy with regard to distribution of the tool itself, and wish you luck.

        Alex
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    May 2 2011: Hi Mike,

    Nicholas Carr author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains argued that digital books such as the one that you have presented will lead to even more distraction. Videos, links, audio commentary and all the other bells and whistles disrupt one's concentration and attention.

    Instead of focusing on the content and utilizing deep thought, the reder will be distracted as he or she will consonantly feed his instant gratification urge with clicks of various buttons and links.

    What is your comment?
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      May 2 2011: First I think different people learn in different ways. Reading long blocks of text does not get though to everyone. Having a mix of different kinds of information really helps communicate information to a wider audience.

      Somethings are also much better communicated though pictures, audio and video. For example one of my favorite websites is The Big Picture http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/ Seeing big photos of things happen around the word to me has a much larger impact than reading about them.

      Chris Anderson gave a great related TED talk on how video on the web is fueling global innovation. Video is an unmatched powerful way of communicating ideas. http://www.ted.com/talks/chris_anderson_how_web_video_powers_global_innovation.html

      I think when authors are able to combine different media to best fit the ideas they are trying to communicate there is a the greatest potential for those ideas to make a real impact on the reader.
  • May 2 2011: How do we preserve content when digital devices and their software become obsolete? I love the direction tablet-based ebooks are taking us, but I worry about the loss of information over time as we convert most knowledge to a digital format.
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    May 2 2011: If you have existing content, like in PDF or ePub form, can you start with that and then tweak and add video, etc. to take advantage of all features, or do you have to build from scratch?
  • May 2 2011: The reading experience in a digital format is very different from a printed book because of all the interactivity that can be provided with the first one. Which are the changes you have found in readers' behavior or reading habits in a digital formats?
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      May 2 2011: Push Pop books are universal apps which means you buy them once and they can run on both an iPad and iPhone. Knowing that people would be reading Al Gore's Our Choice on their iPhone we decided to break each chapter up in to smaller sections. The idea behind that was give the reading check point where they could stop reading if they wanted to duck in and out of the book. If your at the doctors office and have 10 minutes to kill in the waiting room you can pull out your iPhone and read a small section of a chapter and then stop on a complete thought rather than in the middle of a long flowing narrative.
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    May 2 2011: The user experience is very customized to the content. I can imagine taking a long time to build one book. How do you envision this will scale for publishers interested in making a lot of books?
  • May 2 2011: how is this technology a mash up? where could I see more about the software making it possible for me to do books like this?
  • May 2 2011: It looks Amazing however; what are the plans to make the books easier on the eyes, I can't watch a computer screen hour after hour like I read a book. The Kindle, and other similar e-books don't have color and as a photographer I would be interested in creating content for the books!

    I am also interested in info on how easy it is to port from one device to another if one is broken or stolen, etc...?
  • May 2 2011: Do you think of the possibility of having this platform as a template for writers and others to create new interactive books like these? I think these are the books of the future.
  • May 2 2011: Thank you Mike for creating such beautiful UI. Probably the main goal is to create amazing UI for iOS devices, but is there any plans to port these interactive books to the Mac so it can be used with the new touch pads?
  • May 2 2011: The book only supports horizontal orientation. Was this an intentional decision, or a technology decision? Or that you can't make a switching layout that works automatically, so pages have to be laid out twice, so you decided it's not worth it?

    Is the tool limited to horizontal only i.e. might someone design a book that has only vertical orientation?
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      May 2 2011: We decided to support landscape only because most of the photos and all of the videos where landscape to begin with. I also think having both orientations makes for a very unsettling reading experiencing. If you support both orientations one orientation is always a little better than the other but it varies from page to page so as I reader I always find myself asking "is this the best orientation to be reading this page in?"
  • May 2 2011: Will this be the end of traditional illustration in childrens' books?
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      May 2 2011: As an occasional children books illustrator, I begins it opens a wonderful new option for us, instead of the end. Imagine showing the ending illustration to the kids, but also making available all the process it took to get there. And that is just one possibility. Sorry, I know you were asking the speaker, but your question tempted me to answer.
  • May 2 2011: Any thoughts on features like searching, bookmarking and note taking? You said a goal was to "Get rid of the UI," but to add features like that, youd have to add UI. Or do you not see these as necessary tools for the kinds of books you intend to publish?
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      May 2 2011: I think there are unintrusive ways of adding those features if we want them in the future. We decided for this release to focus on simplicity and the content. Id rather have fewer features and a really good user experience, We can always add more stuff when necessary.
  • May 2 2011: Enormous kudos - I saw your TED Talk last week. My iPad arrived Friday night, and once I got it registered, the first purchase I made was "Our Choice". I've already showed it off to a dinner party full of people, and everyone is impressed and excited. We're all anxious to see the upcoming titles. And now every time I pick up a "flat" document, I think about how it can be transformed by Push Pop Press. Thanks for doing such great work, and helping all of us to think "outside the page!"
  • May 2 2011: I guess I am missing something? I don't see the opening to tell me what this is all about? Can anyone point me in the right direction?
  • May 2 2011: Hi Mike,

    I research Graphic Novels which is becoming more and more digital too. Some theorists said if there is a motion in digital graphic novel, that piece of work is became an animation.
    What is your opinion on this ? How should we give definition to new digital media such as e-book that may include some new characteristics ? Or should we or should we not anymore give such a specific definition to new media?
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    May 2 2011: Mike,

    I'm impressed with the Push Pop Press platform and would like to ask you what you think the impact of expressive publishing technologies such as this have for the future of information distribution in general. In what avenues do you see it being most effective? Novels? Textbooks?

    Additionally, with the software's reliability on touchscreen functionality, I'd be curious as to whether or not you plan to release a desktop client with modified features for Push Pop Press titles or stick solely with iOS devices?

    It's great software and I'd like to see it available on as many platforms as possible, but I recognize that a decent portion of the functionality is touchscreen specific at the moment. Just wondering how you elect to deal with that moving forward.

    Alex
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    May 2 2011: A more tech-related question - how did you deal with memory management with this app? I know you can't give away your secret recipe, but any tips for creating highly interactive content rich apps that feel as smooth and seamless as yours?
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    May 2 2011: Mike, any comments on using the technology for fine art/photographic/pictorial books...?
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      May 2 2011: Im an avid photographer myself and would love to see this. I think there is a lot of possibilities there. In Al Gore's Our Choice there are many photoeseasy from some really amazing photographers including TED prize winner Edward Burtynsky. You can see where every photo was taken on an interactive map and some photos are narrated by Al Gore. This added information added a ton of depth to the photos.
  • May 2 2011: I don't have a question but I wanted to thank you for the incredible technology! I love what you've done with the software and I think that the end product is incredible. I look forward to seeing where we go from here. The iPad is the perfect device for this technology to preview on. Keep up the great work!
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    May 2 2011: Just popping in here to learn about this amazing tool.
  • May 2 2011: Educational publishing is changing rapidly. Thought a vast majority of students and instructors still feel a need to have the actual print text, there is an absolute need for the material to be delivered in a more visual, interactive, format. Have you thought of your product being implemented into Academic Publishing and how do you feel it could impact Education? And, how do you see your product measuring up against other eTextbook media companies such as VPG or Inkling?
  • May 2 2011: Is Push Pop Press will be open or closed for developers to share, contribute to it? (P.S. I'm a developer)
  • May 2 2011: hi Mike its amazing piece of work that has been done. But what lies ahead? what are your future plans? are u licencing this technology to other publishers? will the content delivered by this medium be focused on global issues or it would be allowed to be cheaper and exploited to be used in day to day schooling and such learning media's?
  • May 2 2011: Is accessibility of the platform going to be improved?

    The content and design is phenomenal, yet do you see a need to allow the text to be accessible for VoiceOver? Should text sizes be adaptable, or do you feel your current text size is adequate?

    More emphasis seems to be on the user experience of the book rather than the content; how many people who are raving about the book have actually read it. That is what I'm concerned about, as you say, the computer interface should disappear, yet that is what everyone is currently talking about.
  • May 2 2011: Hi Mike,

    Really impressed with the book! My school would love to have such tool for building our own resources for our students! Can't wait for it to be out and available! When wil it be ready/out!? And will it be available for schools?

    By the way been following your personal site... excellent photos and luv all your shortfilm! Keep it coming! =)

    Best,
    Jiunn
  • May 2 2011: Hi Mike,I watched your talk yesterday and downloaded the app immediately, I think it is amazing! I was wondering if there are more books coming soon and if so which themes are covered?

    I am currently studying Health Informatics at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and see a lot of possibilities in for example healthcare education, both for professionals and patients. Would you agree?
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    May 2 2011: Do you anticipate these books coming together as scripts or manuscripts? In other words, is the discussion that will form these books going forward take place with varied collaborators coming to the table (video artists, musicians, writers, info designers) or will a writers work be interpreted by an internal publishing team?
  • May 2 2011: Question about the book. How big is it? iTunes said it was 50MB, but after downloading it seemed to download more content. Is that then permanently stored, or purged as needed? Can the book content be changed at a later date? Is that content served from iTunes?
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    May 2 2011: Hi Mike keep up the good work. I set up my own company "Stray Fox" to specifically create Video content for digital novels. What would be your advice be to connect with the publishers using this tool? also who are the publishers using this tool?
  • May 2 2011: Hey Mike. Great job with this. Congratulations to you and the team.

    Quick question: will this platform support magazines as well as books? Is that something you guys envision?

    Thanks and good luck.
  • May 2 2011: This seems like a great platform for interactive learning, are there any plans to open this up as a publishing platform for others to produce similar content, perhaps for classroom content?

    As a teacher it would be lovely to have content wrapped up like this; video, written and narrated images and interactions as a modern essay. Content is spread wider now, there is no easy (well designed) method of students pulling content together in a cohesive and professional manner.

    I think this is great by the way, a solid next step towards convergence in content. Marvellous.
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      May 2 2011: I think publishing in the classroom is a great idea. Our goal is to have the platform be widely available and be something both pros and students could easily use. The platform is currently in private beta and we don't have a release date set but you can follow us on twitter and we will let you know when its coming out: Follow us on twitter: http://twitter.com/pushpoppress
      • May 2 2011: That's great. I would love to see this platform been used in the classroom and replacing the current textbook. Which the students instead of reading passively, they get to edit and contribute to the material and content.
        We have been looking for a wiki like online platform for students constructed textbook. But the privacy and ease of use are always the problem. If this platform can be make available to all educators, it would be great news.
        Since I am in science education, I am wondering if would be possible to including some sort of drawing, graphing, or equation editing function into it? Or that's some thing some of us need to work closely with your company?
        Any way, the current book is a great start.
      • May 2 2011: thanks Mike, will follow and hopefully join the BETA
  • May 2 2011: Hi Mike- Some "Our Choice" readers have posted here how easy the book was to navigate without getting lost in the interactive information.

    Have any studies been done or have you received significant feedback showing the amount of information that an interactive e-reader comprehends vs. a traditional book/ ebook?
    Do you have any tips on how to organize such interactive information to ensure the interactive information is captured by the reader?
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      May 2 2011: We spent a lot of time thinking about this ourselves. Simple navigation really helps. To read a Push Pop book you just need to know one thing: Anything you see in the book you can pick up with two fingers and open up. Once you learn that exploring the information is really natural and intuitive. The other thing that really helps is having one direction of navigation. Some other eReading experiences have you swiping up, down, left, right as well as rotating your devices from portrait to landscape. I think this just makes the reading experiencing a lot more difficult and confusing.
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    May 2 2011: Hi Mike - great product. Really loved it. Can you give us an approximate date for the commercial release of the platform? Would you be interested in working together for the Scandinavian market? Sorry about the direct approach - but I may not be able to reach you anywhere else:-)
  • May 2 2011: I would really like to have access to this tech to build online courses with my University. What kind of opportunities are out there for education institutions if any?

    Thanks and great work!
  • May 2 2011: Hello Mike,

    Great thought. Love the book.
    Can we expect to see a new platform where anyone can contribute to making a Digital Book.
    With the likes of the one you've just created? Would you be making a framework or so of this sort?

    Thanks
  • May 2 2011: Is this app for ipad and ipod only?
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    May 2 2011: Mike Matas is the man!! Your design is elegant and feels like an organic extension of the reading experience. I never felt like the technology was a gimmick in it. It just feels right. Nice work. What's your next book?
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    May 2 2011: My first impressions of Our Choice are very good. I specifically want to commend you on the UI work here. A deliberate choice to abandon the design skeuomorphs (such as page edges, and page 'turning') seen in other books on touch devices. You've really shown what the next generation of publishing can look like.
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    May 2 2011: Hi Mike..I am young designer.
    I think the book is amazing and just like any break through this one also has a learning curve... the introductory video that you guys have and the way iPad is really bridges that gap. Do you fear that every user may not experience the full blown experience and may end up just enjoying a part of the content. Any tips for us to conter that in our own creations.
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    May 2 2011: First of all, congratulations on your work, it is actually amazing.

    I have a question: Have you considered, in the future, the possibility of translating the published books? I personally think that your ideas have a huge potential and therefore, I really think you should spread the word -not just in English, but in other languages.
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      May 2 2011: I'm thinking could they implement a crowdsource approach to this, as TED does with the talks?
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        May 2 2011: That could be great, as it would offer the possibility to volunteer as translators to people with the competences to do it, as well as the possibility to approach new ideas to more and more people. Nowadays, it is not all about the money we make, but the better world that can be built for a better future.
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    May 2 2011: Is there a chance that Push Pop Press will be looking at alternative forms of distribution/publication than the "App Store" platform? It seems like once the tech matures and more books are released that PPP having its own platform would make sense.

    Also, any chance you are looking for an iOS developer/book lover who's extremely excited about the future of book/zine publishing?
  • May 2 2011: love love love the idea .... until the whole energy grid colapses .... : /
  • May 2 2011: Mike,
    It would be affordable for small publisers?
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    May 2 2011: Mike- thanks so much for your time.

    The interactivity of Our Choice really brings a lot of the discussions of environmental awareness to light and I really see Push Pop Press doing great things with historical/non fiction topics. Do you think this platform will be as valuable to the world of fiction writing as well?
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      May 2 2011: Of course fiction could make great use of this technology. An obvious choice would be children books, but think about bestsellers like The Da Vinci Code, with all those references to actual documents and places, or The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo, where you could actually look at the evidence of the police case.
      • May 2 2011: The use case that came to mind for me would be school text books. Especially things like history/social studies in elementary/middle schools.

        It staggers me to think that children today will grow up with things like this to learn from.
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    May 2 2011: Would Pop Press be a bundle of publishing software + service where we could author our own interactive books and you get a percent, or are you planning it in a more tradition curated editorial way?
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    May 2 2011: Hi Mike...

    I had been waiting for the first book to come out from Push Pop, and I picked up "Our Choice" last week...and really like it. Easy to read and interact with, without being distracted by all it can do. Well done. Two questions:

    1) I've "read" Our Choice over the last few days, and it doesn't feel like other books, both physical and "regular" ebooks. Do you consider what you are creating as being "books," or do we need to define these differently? I've heard different rants from Seth Godin and Kevin Kelly on this topic, and was curious about your thoughts.

    2) Are you creating a platform that others will be able to launch their books on, or will PPP just release their own titles?

    Cheers and good luck!
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      May 2 2011: I agree "book" is not exactly the right word for what we are making. We don't have a better word for it right now but I just like to think of it as information. We are in the business of publishing and amplifying information.
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    May 2 2011: How does one get involved in creating content/books for Push Pop Press? It looks like a lot of fun to design for, and I can see a number of uses. Is there some way to get involved before the official launch so that we have a book or several ready when it officially launches? What is the expected cost per book, or is that up to the creator? What percentage does the creator keep?

    Apologies if this is the wrong place to post questions, I just signed up a couple of minutes ago to hear/watch/see this conversation, but I do not see anything happening.
  • May 2 2011: As a follow up to Raymond's question, if you will be making other digital books, do you know what the next title will be?
  • May 2 2011: I know you're an Apple guy, but any preliminary thoughts as to compatibility with other platforms at this point (i.e., will publishers be able to easily convert to PC, web-based, Android, etc. formats, or would they need to rebuild on another platform)? Any thoughts re enabling the export of content by a user (for example, a promotional coupon from the book)? Any features enabling user input (e.g., testing features, user content creation, surveys, etc.)? Will the app. enable any form of linking out of the book back to a publisher site? (sorry for multiple questions)
  • May 2 2011: How do you see the future play out between laptops, tablets and the consumer computer. Pro computers will always be muscle cars but for the rest of the crash/spam/file management/email/web/don't know how to fix this thing world, what is going to change and happen in your view as touch takes over and keyboards and mice are starting to get dusty.
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      May 2 2011: I think one of the most exciting things that will come out of the transition from keyboard and mice to touch is the washing away of "computer interfaces" that clutter and distract from the things we use computer for.
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      May 2 2011: The idea behind the UI design of Push Pop Press was "get rid of the UI". No toolbars, no back buttons, we just wanted to content to fill the screen so you could really immerse yourself in it. I think its resulting in a user experience that comes closest to that of a physical book where you can just get lost in the content and are not constantly being pulled out of the experience to deal with the technology behind it.
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    May 2 2011: Do you plan to work mostly with publishers, or could a self-published single author work with you too?
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    May 2 2011: Hi Mike, thanks for doing this!

    I was wondering if, and how, you think the interactivity of the book will be more effective in getting people to take action on environmental issues?
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      May 2 2011: The first step in getting people to take action is to educate and inspire people on the problem and solutions. I think the interactivity of the book explains some very complex data in a way that is easy to understand. A great example is the map of green energy potential around the united states. It packs tons of data that would otherwise to hard to understand into something simple and approachable.
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    May 2 2011: Mike,

    a) Thank you for creating amazing things that I use every single day. Being an iOS UI designer = basically just trying to make things look like you made them.

    b) With Push Pop - it's unclear if you guys intend to do custom jobs book by book or create a sort of public-facing platform to create interactive books/apps, which is it?
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      May 2 2011: Thanks Paul!

      We are building a publishing platform that we plan on releasing to the public in the future. Right now it's in private beta and we are working with authors to create books with our tool.
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        May 2 2011: How would authors sell/distribute their work? As an app or digital book? Sorry if you've already covered this...
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    May 2 2011: Im here ready to answer your questions.
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    May 2 2011: Will you be making more digital books. Or is "Our Choice" meant to be a showcase of what your software is capable of? I heard in the talk that this is supposed to be released as a commercial product for publishers.
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      May 2 2011: Hey Raymond, we are working with more authors to publish more digital books in the future. We are not ready to talk about what those books will be right now though.
  • May 2 2011: What has been the response so far to your first product?
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      May 2 2011: The response has been amazing! Al Gore's Our Choice is now the #1 selling book and the iPad and iPhone with a solid 5 out of 5 star user rating. One of my favorite reviews: "Now I know how Steve Jobs felt when he first saw Xerox PARC's UI: This is the future."
      • May 2 2011: How is this technology going to be available to publishers? Through some sort of licensing? what is your plan to work with others who have content to publish? I have a a very interesting project I'd like to send your way!