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Summary:

I had such high hopes for Push Pop Press and I thought they could redefine the idea of publishing. Instead they got bought out by Facebook, Pulling a Patzer, a move where a very promising company sells too early to a bigger, cash-rich suitor.

Our Choice 8

Just when you think a startup stuffed with talent is destined for big things, they Pull a Patzer (a move where a very promising company sells too early to a bigger, cash-rich suitor.) I had such high hopes for Push Pop Press and I thought they could redefine the idea of publishing. Anyone who saw Our Choice (an amazing iPad book-app) could easily see what I meant — these guys could have been the next big thing. John Gruber in his review put it best:

Push Pop’s concept strikes me as far more ambitious: What can we do with the idea of a “book” if we eliminate the limitations of ink and paper, rather than mimic them? E-books that aren’t merely rendered by software, but rather e-books that are software.

Instead they are now going to be acquired by Facebook, where in all likelihood, they are going to work on photo albums or something similar. Mark’s baby might be the world’s largest social network, but it is not exactly known for its design powers. On the flip side, Facebook bought FriendFeed and Beluga and put the apps on a path to nowhere but put the founders of those start-ups to good use.

Nevertheless, my congratulations to team Push Pop Press. I am going to miss your amazingness!

  1. Kate Schackai Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Wow, what a bummer! I was blown away by their vision for the future of books, and couldn’t wait to see what they did next. Now I guess I’ll keep an eye out for a less crummy visual space somewhere on the mess that it Facebook. Egads.

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  2. Benedict Evans Monday, August 8, 2011

    Push Pops’s platform demo was beautiful, yes, but it would’t scale.

    First, two thirds of the value of the book market is in text-only formats – fiction, biography etc. Those will no more gain interactivity than they gained colour with the advent of cheap colour printing – part from anything else, few of them sell enough copies to justify the extra cost.

    Second, there’s no operational leverage in this business. All of the value-added is the graphic design work, not the software.

    So, the US publishing industry turns over maybe $20bn. of that, say $4-5bn might become interactive, with tiny margins. So, maybe a few hundred million of new revenue from interactivity. And that in turns means revenue for Push Pop in the single digit millions and a valuation of about the same. Maybe they were right to take Facebook’s money?

    A little more detail here: http://bit.ly/q0UEoG

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