R.I.P. Push Pop Press
And just like that, the biggest thing to happen to interactive books is no more. Push Pop Press, the muscle behind the popular “Our Choice” app that helped to define the opportunity for digital books on the iPad, has been acquired by Facebook and dismantled as a publishing company. Their stated plan to create an innovative, easy-to-use platform has been abandoned, replaced by a mandate to make Facebook an appier place to share cat pictures. Such is the mercurial speed with which the tablet world turns. Here today, gone tonight.
So what happens next?
• Facebook morphs into Flipboard 2.0. The walls come down like the fall of Berlin, replaced by interactive experiences that turn pokes and posts into something much more seamless and sophisticated — yet simple. Advertisers flock to a new medium that offers mass personalization, habitual relationships and, suddenly, rich multimedia. Facebook goes head to head with Flipboard, Zite, Editions and other aggregators while Twitter seeks a partner that can deliver similar stickiness.
• Platforms like WoodWing and Adobe gain popularity, with a greater assortment of commercially available HTML5 widgets that differentiate one app from another. Custom programming is time-consuming and expensive, making it difficult for publishers to seize time-sensitive opportunities. These platforms provide a launchpad for building any type of app in internet speed — not just books and magazines but utilities and experiences.
• The lines continue to blur between content and commerce. Push Pop was born as a way to deliver content, and did so effectively enough to become a golden goose for Facebook to sell advertising. More and more, the enterprise will seize upon content as a way to achieve business goals with unprecedented effectiveness. Magazine-like experiences aren't just for magazines any more — they provide companies with a way to forge meaningful relationships with consumers.
• “Our Choice” whetted an appetite for electronic books that many publishers will race to satisfy. An opportunity looms for publishers large and small to continue what’s been started and reinvent the modernday book. With Push Pop gone, the playing field is wide open for established publishers, trendsetters like Touch Press and Moonbot Studios, and independents like — we hope — Joe Zeff Design, building on the success of "Above & Beyond: George Steinmetz" and "The Final Hours of Portal 2."
Exciting times indeed. Rest in peace, Push Pop Press. You will not be forgotten.