Mike Matas: A next-generation digital book


So for the past year and a half, my team at Push Pop Press and Charlie Melcher and Melcher Media have been working on creating the first feature-length interactive book. It’s called “Our Choice” and the author is Al Gore. It’s the sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth,” and it explores all the solutions that will solve the climate crisis. The book starts like this. This is the cover. As the globe spins, we can see our location, and we can open the book and swipe through the chapters to browse the book. Or, we can scroll through the pages at the bottom. And if we wanted to zoom into a page, we can just open it up. And anything you see in the book, you can pick up with two fingers and lift off the page and open up. And if you want to go back and read the book again, you just fold it back up and put it back on the page. And so this works the same way; you pick it up and pop it open. (Audio) Al Gore: I consider myself among the majority who look at windmills and feel they’re a beautiful addition to the landscape. Mike Matas: And so throughout the whole book, Al Gore will walk you through and explain the photos. This photo, you can you can even see on an interactive map. Zoom into it and see where it was taken. And throughout the book, there’s over an hour of documentary footage and interactive animations. So you can open this one. (Audio) AG: Most modern wind turbines consist of a large … MM: It starts playing immediately. And while it’s playing, we can pinch and peak back at the page, and the movie keeps playing. Or we can zoom out to the table of contents, and the video keeps playing. But one of the coolest things in this book are the interactive infographics. This one shows the wind potential all around the United States. But instead of just showing us the information, we can take our finger and explore, and see, state by state, exactly how much wind potential there is. We can do the same for geothermal energy and solar power. This is one of my favorites. So this shows … (Laughter) (Applause) When the wind is blowing, any excess energy coming from the windmill is diverted into the battery. And as the wind starts dying down, any excess energy will be diverted back into the house — the lights never go out. And this whole book, it doesn’t just run on the iPad. It also runs on the iPhone. And so you can start reading on your iPad in your living room and then pick up where you left off on the iPhone. And it works the exact same way. You can pinch into any page. Open it up. So that’s Push Pop Press’ first title, Al Gore’s “Our Choice.” Thank you. (Applause) Chris Anderson: That’s spectacular. Do you want to be a publisher, a technology licenser? What is the business here? Is this something that other people can do? MM: Yeah, we’re building a tool that makes it really easy for publishers right now to build this content. So Melcher Media’s team, who’s on the East coast — and we’re on the West coast, building the software — takes our tool and, every day, drags in images and text. CA: So you want to license this software to publishers to make books as beautiful as that? (MM: Yes.) All right. Mike, thanks so much. MM: Thank you. (CA: Good luck.) (Applause)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

100 thoughts on “Mike Matas: A next-generation digital book”

  1. arek314 says:

    It reminds me one of those interactive encyclopedias from a couple of years back. Multimedia part is well executed, the form factor is nice, we may look on the future of school book. I'd love to see it as something cross-platform and not just iPad/iPhone.

  2. Scott Haselbery says:

    Hope the ratings for this video will serve as a good indicator for TED to not put crap like this on. No doubt the researches have made an exciting Apple-ONLY toy here.. but TED is bigger & nobler than that.

  3. djamorpheus says:

    One of the best Apple adverts!

  4. Wise Man, Wise Words says:

    Another pointless, expensive medium to make something simple more complex than it already is.

  5. trap says:

    not a substitute for books. maybe it shouldn't even be considered a book but it is cool and I really like the idea as a form of entertainment.

  6. MscBlggr says:

    Did this MF just blow on his iPad????? OMGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. artifactingreality says:

    Who on earth would want to hear Al Gore drone on for an hour and a half.

  8. memoryhero says:

    Apple products are so passé. Open source if anything, young buck!

  9. Tomas Quinones says:

    I really don't see this as "Revolutionary" as much as evolutionary. But we already have interactive "books" called "Web Pages". Now, if it had image recognition or something that put the technology to the test, then they might be onto something.

    However, I should also note that this is TED

  10. Edgar Valenzuela says:

    @tiknoriumatyti well you just described me… I prefer audio/visual estimulation rather than just imagination… feels more real for me and it gets me more into the story. People that read have said to me that a lot of them tend to hate images because it destroys whatever they imagined. I dont mind that I actually like it better this way.

  11. samikorpela says:

    wow. that was really cool

  12. bersaba says:

    The problem with global warming is there's lots of different issues at play. The different sciences to study the different fields, and then the different modelling, and so on. However, the IPCC 2001 statement is agreed upon by virtually every academic group, and it says "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities."

  13. bersaba says:

    Was more of a joke then a serious comment. As for this particular app. When does an app stop being a book? What I mean is, I used to play text adventures games on a 286 when I was a kid. They weren't books right? Video games aren't books, but they tell a story. My point is, if we define book as "stuff with lots of text" then there's been propietry "books" at the dawn of PCs.

    It's a bit of a silly argument all round though.

  14. MILDR says:

    I would not recommend to read it before going to sleep. You can almost better watch the tv instead ;).

    I prefer reading a real book and the use of my imagination.

  15. axelasdf says:

    Are you giving this away? How is this revolutionary?

  16. HomeDistiller says:

    i like that they made the first full-length interactive book about making less energy pollution on a electronic device that would cause 100+ times the pollution than making a book in the first place (mining all the metal used and rare element in the batteries screens etc processing and just running costs etc)

  17. DocUnsane says:

    kindle is still better… doesn't burn your eyes, for serious reading.

  18. SoulEnFlame says:


    We live to follow what nature has prompted us to live towards: consumption.

  19. solsav says:

    nice ad!

  20. Amathos says:

    OH FUCK YES! cuzz word needed here.

  21. ApesAmongUs says:

    How does this "new technology" differ from a web page circa 1992?

  22. kcpenner says:

    Ah, you're all so jaded. As a teacher, I see this as revolutionary. Yes we've had this interactivity before, but not on such a portable device that doesn't have to be connected to the Internet to work. Just pretend you're a bright-eyed knowledge-hungry kid. Or start using your imagination for how this could be used for SO many things …

  23. OccamsKatana says:


  24. gunhimdown says:

    thanks ted for a 5 minute advertisement…

  25. AmrOsman says:

    wait isn't that iPad 2 ?!!!!!!!!

  26. RichT519 says:

    These new age mac-fucking douche bags who think every unpractical dumb outdated thing apple makes but calls revolutionary is actual progress are starting to annoy me.

  27. Richard Dubois says:

    I expect more from TED than an extended Mac ad. Thumbs down.

  28. ErikeRKK says:


    Why say that? Why not say that it has promted us to live towards reproducing all we can?

  29. SoulEnFlame says:


    Because it is evident that we will never be satisfied. We will prolong our lives and populate this universe til it can no longer contain us. Infinity is an illusion.

  30. ErikeRKK says:


    So slowing down isn't a better option..?

  31. Ankit Jain says:

    How is this gonna help in reducing Carbon emission. In turn it will increase it, by selling more iPads and iPhones which cause damage to environment during mining of metals to make the components of iPhone!

  32. palthainon says:

    Books were the best option for hundreds of years. Now we have more options, stop trashing it cause its different and consider the idea that this is where information, entertainment, and history will be: digital.

  33. Anastasia Galce says:

    Looks like a advertisement of iPad and iPhone…

  34. Leonidas GGG says:

    Shameless Apple product placement… but preety neat do.

  35. SoulEnFlame says:


    You have made me more optimistic.

  36. SoulEnFlame says:


    Not sure I follow. Slow down our consumption? That's oppositional to innovation.

  37. ErikeRKK says:


    I does not have to be. Not at all. Making the costs of our consumtion more effective takes innovation. Innovation does not equal not taking care of our surroundnings. I sure hope that's not what you are saying.

  38. dieuhien08 says:

    If this ends up being a way to get more people to read, then I'm all for it. Reading, especially material such as Our Choice (although I don't particularly agree with Al Gore), is knowledge. And as we all know, knowledge is power. So even though books aren't the traditional paper and cardboard combination anymore, at least there's still knowledge being shared.

  39. Pertrosfoliea says:

    and why would this "book" only be for iApple owners?

  40. Zach Rice says:

    I was really distracted the whole time by the Commerce Bank globe logo.

  41. elchafa says:

    Al Gore on climate change? I wouldn't believe a word he says, he's lost credibility with his man-made global warming.

  42. Boreo says:

    @elchafa Yeah he did it for the money.
    But that does not mean he is wrong.

  43. elchafa says:

    @Borridd Science has disproven his theory, check out "The Global Warming Swindle" documentary right here on Youtube if you're interested in finding out more about the subject.

  44. Boreo says:

    @elchafa First, It's not his theory.
    Second, I got into 10 minutes and already found numerous mistakes.
    I shall point them out:
    The medieval warm period/little ice age only happened in the northern hemisphere, how do we know? Ice cores.
    The global warming and cooling in the past was due to volcanic and/or cosmic inter-interferences.
    Climate science does not ignore people who disagree, in fact half of climate science to to find evidence to debunk itself.
    I'd add more, but I don't have room.

  45. Andrei G. says:

    4:35 to skip the add 😛

  46. Steel Mcneal says:

    So apple can track you when you fart as well where you go.

  47. Rakke Takke says:

    @offmyface1 haha yes. Theyre watching you.

  48. photent says:

    maybe it'd be good for children's books, and other heavy image laden books, but other than that it seems like it's technology for the sake of a new gizmo to market and something to impress your friends with

  49. birdlives10 says:

    This looks incredible! Everyday I am blown away by the innovations of our young people. They are making the world a better place. I cannot wait to purchase these interactive books. As soon as they are available, I will purchase them.

  50. brokenseeker says:

    10 bucks says he got funded by Apple and Al Gore.

    What's that sound?

    The sound of a thousand hipsters crying out in orgams.

  51. Learn UX says:

    excellent example of an interactive book. so smart.

  52. feastures says:

    Please stop these lies about global warming, and let's do something about global arming.

  53. SexDrugsMoreSex says:

    at 1:37, look how the icon goes OVER his hand and not UNDER it.

  54. DocUnsane says:

    garbage ted talk

  55. test123ok says:

    THIS is a TED talk ? just visit the app store instead ..why waste the time of 100s of brilliant people

  56. ابو ايمن الكرمي says:

    لن يغني ذلك عن الكتاب حيث ستكون هذه التأثيرات عائق وليس مساعد للكتاب

  57. ابو ايمن الكرمي says:

    this will kill the beauty

    of reading books , isn't it?

  58. Sihion says:

    what a bullshit

  59. Jonathan Seagull says:

    Al gore ? WTF !? Climate change = Solar activity.

  60. Olga Palijcuka says:

    so now you can slide through a power point presentation? cool

  61. mrbrockpeters says:

    Cool book bro! But you should know better than to present a book better than Al Gore. I'd rather read a hardcore pornography magazine like Club and have that be interactive.

    Also, Microsoft Encarta (Encyclopedia) pretty much did this a decade ago.

  62. Waifu Trump says:

    Go to Goggle, Type in "AL GORE OIL"…

    Start Reading.

  63. steampunk18 says:

    That's right. Fuck digital books and fuck Apple. Who needs iPads and iPhones? In fact, I'm not even typing this on a MacBook Air.

    We would all be better off with typewriters and candle lights.

  64. Verónica Hanna Salazar says:

    Wooooow…. Dan ganas de leer.. Jiji.. Y está guapo Mike!!!

  65. The Mooner says:

    It doesn't matter if you like this book. It doesn't matter if you call it stupid, accuse Apple of greed, or say we should be moving backward in time. The fact remains that Apple and other digital companies are making great learning resources available to the world. Just because other companies have failed to do this in an engaging way does not mean the successful ones should stop. If you hate competition and innovation, you will soon find yourself alone in a world that doesn't need you.

  66. ThatELion says:

    @BlindLightbulb The new interactivity of books and learning is great… but if I told you I made seatbelts that saved every life it cradled and then told you its only available in Fords how wonderful is my great innovation now?

  67. EricColvin says:

    Oh Cool! So – Hey! Everyone get an iPad and an iPhone! Like, 7 billion of them to go round. All those rare-earth metals to be mined: gadolinium, lutetium, terbium and dysprosium (not to mention the uranium and thorium that'll throw into the atmosphere). Not to mention the energy needed to manufacture those cool devices – and the super-cooled servers we download the books from. Then we read Al Gore's tract in which he flew tens of thousands of miles to teach us all about saving energy? Jeesh!

  68. Mark Sawatzky says:

    I don't understand people who are mad that this is exclusive to Apple…Why would Apple work for other companies like Android? Shouldn't your frustration be directed towards your favourite companies, who aren't developing cool stuff like this?

  69. Suhail K Y says:

    2.43 thumbs!!!!!!

  70. Công Minh Nguyễn says:

    what's that app? Anyone can tell me? 😀 thanks

  71. Bobby Java says:

    @ThatELion You had a good reason to choose Ford otherwise you must be crazy. Its not your fault if Ford is the best choice for your product, is it?

  72. flakvr says:

    -1 for not being on e-ink.
    -1 for iPad ad.
    -1 for Al Gore

  73. Ray Chow says:

    guys please, look at when this was posted, it's at April 2011, iBooks 2 did not come out only until Jan 2012. Stop saying its an Apple ad, how I hate people commenting about the cideo without reading the description! >.<

  74. benjavides says:

    Probably the worst Ted talk i´ve ever seen

  75. Cody Gorski says:

    Can you imagine a "how to" book with actual demonstrations..

  76. brandnewdaydesigns says:


  77. DrOctopusBJJ says:

    Analog books are still better because they're little affordable works of art. Also, they're not narrated by Al Gore's lame ass.

  78. DrOctopusBJJ says:

    This is the interweb. Logic is not permitted here.

  79. Alok N R says:

    its cool but was it TED talk worthy ? it was like an advertisement for apple ! what if i just don't want an apple product ?

  80. Alok N R says:

    sorry. its less of an ad when you listen to chris anderson's question at the end which explains what he was trying to demonstrate. If he did make that software available to authors then its worth it.but it is still a campaign of sorts.

  81. ZerqTM says:

    3:10 basically this book is only for IFags

  82. ZerqTM says:

    Iphone is evil propertary shit!

    The apple is poisoned and steve jobbs was the evil queen!

  83. Josh Parolin says:

    Incredible. Imagine if your school books growing up would have been like this. History class would have been a lot more interesting. This is the future.

  84. PaniNataliya says:

    Who knows the widget used in 2:45 – 2:52 when he blows at the mill and it swings? thanks!

  85. Jesper Roos Jacobsen says:

    Isnt it a bit over the top?

  86. Nacho Vega says:

    IMpressive work!

  87. UltimateSubZr0 says:

    indeed it is. Its one of a few very good uses of technology today

  88. b4se 👽 says:

    It seems a bit too much and a little complicated. The graph stuff is cool but the pinching, dragging and expanding an image to make it larger is quite a few steps, how bout just a simple tab?

  89. Farhan Yun says:

    this is not really a book, this is like an, interactive website

  90. Maguida Rivera says:

    This is more than cool. Mike Matas is the new weave of innovative developers and I know more will come. 

  91. Brendan Luu says:

    Facebook Paper?

  92. Khalid M says:

    I prefer a good old fashion paper book, in that respect I won't change.

  93. gilson chapple says:

    You just cannot beat a real live book that you can take from the book shelf. This is unnecessary technology. We already have wikipedea and encyclopaedias galore .

  94. Matthew Mullin says:

    So essentially homestuck

  95. Mathezauberer says:

    I`m German but I watched this video and I can say I`m astonished to see what you can with the e-book! I would be happy to learn to do the same

  96. Destroyed says:

    cool they have j mascis as cameraman

  97. Max Marques says:

    Tecnologia avansada isso e bom ?

  98. TheUNProfessional says:

    So they based a book about my name. Sounds legit.

  99. Nataraj Sasid says: – “Interactive eBook” engages more audience!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *