Apple's recent announcement of iBooks Author and its plan to inject a lot more digital mojo into textbooks has the tech world trying to wrap its collective head around the idea of what the future of books is going to look like -- especially non-fiction books that can integrate multimedia and innovate the user experience for multitouch tablets like the iPad.
The best existing example I've seen of a book that's designed for this new paradigm is Al Gore's Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis. No matter what you think about the environment or global climate change, this provides a tantalizing look at what's possible with interactive books. It integrates video, allows you to zoom and manipulate photos and infographics, makes excellent use of animations and gestures, and does it all in way that doesn't distract from the reading experience.
Fortunately, there's a TED Talk with Mike Matas, the co-founder of the company that created Our Choice. In his talk, Matas demonstrates the amazing functionality and capabilities of the ebook/iPad app that his team at Push Pop Press created. In the video, Matas said that Push Pop was working on creating software that would allow publishers to build this same kind of interactive ebook. However, Facebook acquired Push Pop in August 2011 and the company abandoned its publishing platform ambitions to work on interface design at Facebook. Of course, Apple is now running with this idea by creating a new type of ebook format rather than making publishers build an app for each individual book.
Still, the book created by Matas and Push Pop Press serves as a great example of what the future of reading is going to look like.
Below is the four-and-a-half-minute TED video. You can also still grab Our Choice for $4.99 in the App Store.