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четвер, 28 квітня 2011 р.

Gore, Ex-Apple Engineers Team Up to Blow Up the Book

What do you do after working for Apple, a company whose mission seems to be nothing less than disrupting entire industries? Easy. You start a company to create your own ding in the universe.

That’s the idea behind Push Pop Press, a digital creation tool designed to blow up the concept of the book. Frictionless self-publishing is a fertile new space, but this particular startup got a little help from former vice president Al Gore, whose exacting demands on an app version of his book Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis gave this would-be company its first real boost.

Developed by former Apple employees Mike Matas and Kimon Tsinteris, Push Pop Press will be a publishing platform for authors, publishers and artists to turn their books into interactive iPad or iPhone apps — no programming skills required.

“The app is the richest form of storytelling,” Matas said. “[Push Pop Press] opens doors to telling a story with more photos, more videos and interactions.”

This article is part of a series of profiles about hit apps and the successful programmers behind them.

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Push Pop Press is pushing into a widening niche within the print industry, which is scrambling to produce digital versions of books, magazines and newspapers in hopes of reversing declining revenues.

The platform comes as a slew of competitiors seek to upend the book publishing business, a shift that once seemed improbable but now inevitable, thanks to the success of new devices such as the iPad, Kindle and Nook. Notably, Amazon began selling more e-books than printed editions just 33 months after its Kindle launched.

If e-books have been flying off the “shelves” for years, Push Pop Press aims to bring a new dimension to the platform, adding high-end graphics to the largely unadorned text offered in popular e-book editions like the Kindle. It’s the latest bet — still unpaid after some 25 years of digital publishing– that plain old text is about to undergo a major evolution as authors and readers demand more interactivity.

For magazine publishers and newspapers, one of the trendiest technology solutions involves creating iPad or Android editions of publications — for which advertisers, so far, seem to pay at rates which rival print dollars instead of web pennies.

The 800-pound gorilla in this digital space is Adobe, whose tools are used to create some tablet 280 periodicals (including the iPad version of WIRED magazine). But the complexity — and expense — of Adobe’s Creative Suite is an opportunity for new entrants in the self-publishing game.

Problem is, it’s neither easy nor cheap for dead-tree publishers to hire app programmers, or to purchase the resources necessary to digitize their publications with sexy code. And after factoring in the hefty costs of development and time spent on production, mobile apps have hardly proven a goldmine for major publishers.

If successfully scaled, Push Pop Press could become the easiest and quickest way for publishers and independent artists to turn their media into iPhone and iPad apps and take a whack at making money in the App Store.

Book apps created with Push Pop Press can take advantage of the iPad’s and iPhone’s advanced sensors, touchscreen gestures, microphone and powerful graphics chip to turn reading into a rich, interactive experience, Matas said. Videos, interactive diagrams and geotagged photos are just some elements that can be embedded in a book produced with Push Pop Press.
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