Al Gore’s Poppin Book Pushes the Bar

Our Choice is the sequel to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, and its digital Apple edition frankly steals the thunder from any e-book out there. The enhanced, full-featured book is the result of a super-star collaboration that could possibly be considered the Avengers or Justice League of digital publishing (and not just because Our Choice is about how to save the planet).

The book was written by Al Gore and Rodale, the multimedia content was produced by Melcher Media and the book was platformed on an App developed by Push Pop Press—the ex-Apple architects of one of the smoothest e-book platforms there is.

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Cover to cover, this book is the most dynamic and interactive reading experience to date. It navigates pages not through panels, but chapters. Swiping left and right from the book cover switches between chapters, the pages of which are displayed on a reel at the bottom of the screen. When selecting a page, the App doesn’t transition to a new panel; it zooms in. All the multimedia features are embedded elements on the reel and can be pinched, popped and pushed in and out of focus. Each chapter is its own interactive sandbox.

At the heart of its interactivity is a feature called Infographics, which is handled by Bret Victor of Push Pop Press. These are engaging charts, figures and models that allow the reader to explore data through novelty interactions like blowing across your reader device to activate the propellers of a windmill. Other engaging Infographics in this application include interactive maps that allow you to see the wind and solar potential in different regions of the United States.

Push Pop Press has stated that they are designing a more extensible platform to be made available to all publishers. The cost of their licensed software has not been made public, which makes it difficult to say how available this platform will be—small publishers will possibly be unable to afford such a desirable tool. And so far, it’s only capable of running on the iPad and other Apple mobile devices (they always get the best stuff).

As awe-inspiring as Our Choice is, the platform and business model leave many unanswered questions. Some see Push Pop Press as a company caught between a balancing act of publishers and licensor. Co-founder Michael Matas simply said, “Our Choice is the first featured book published by Push Pop Press.”

Their success is all attributed to many specific circumstances that may limit their market and accessibilty—all of which I hope to dive into in my next post. For the time being, enjoy the demos, and if you have an iPad, you may just want to indulge and pick this one up for $10. Whether or not you believe in global warming or have any desire to save the planet, this App is one impressive book.

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  1. Pingback: How Does One Make an Enhanced E-book? | Words in Gear

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