New eBooks Transform with Interactive Featurettes

Dennis Faas's picture

Last week's report that thousands of U.S. libraries were set to receive Kindle eBooks marked a major step ahead for digital reading devices. But a new app-based copy of a book written by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore is not only changing the approach to commercialized reading, but also the very definition of what we consider a "book" to be.

Push Pop Press, a company established by former Apple employees Kimon Tsinteris and Mike Matas, has published an app version of "Our Choice," the popular 2009 book about global warming.

Apple Features Alter Book Layout

The app is said to take full advantage of the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, including touchscreen movements, microphone synchronization and a host of sensory displays to present the book as never before. (Source:

The newest incarnation of Our Choice combines high quality photographs embedded with interactive graphics and animation.

The author is very much a part of the literary journey, as Gore himself provides full narration and over an hour of supporting video. The reader becomes part of the adventure, too, deciding where to expand areas of information (via links, tabs) and where to gloss over insignificant facts and figures (via a flick of the finger).

Reading Flow Disrupted with 'Extras'

Ironically, with all of the innovations made to the layout of a traditional book, the presentation of text (the most important feature when actually reading a book) is an area that needs improvement.

To satisfy all of the high quality photographs and interactive features, text is wrapped around these images and words are often hyphenated as a result, disrupting reading flow and comprehension.

Said Dave Addey, managing director of app developers Agant: "Hyphenating a word around four full-screen pictures smacks of a lack of attention. It almost feels as though reading the book is an afterthought." (Source:

Minor drawbacks aside, Push Pop Press might really be on to something, especially if more companies start to offer similar interactive publications.

The app version of Our Choice (Version 1.0) is available now in the Apple iTunes store and sells for around $4.99.

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