Facebook on Tuesday acquired iPad book maker Push Pop Press for an undisclosed amount. The purchase set off rumors about whether Facebook was trying to get into the publishing business, though official statements from both companies suggest otherwise.
Push Pop Press, founded by Apple veterans, is known for publishing an innovative iPad ebook by Al Gore. The official blog post from Push Pop Press said, “Although Facebook isn’t planning to start publishing digital books, the ideas and technology behind Push Pop Press will be integrated with Facebook.”
Facebook echoed similar sentiments in an official statement yesterday, choosing not to address any potential publishing initiatives: “We can’t wait for co-founders Mike Matas and Kimon Tsinteris to get started, and for some of the technology, ideas and inspiration behind Push Pop Press to become part of how millions of people connect and share with each other on Facebook.”
And although Facebook might not have any immediate ambitions of getting into the publishing world, there may be plans down the line. The opportunities are astronomical. The same way Google leveraged millions of users from Gmail, Picasa and other widely used Google services for its Google+ debut, Facebook could leverage its millions of users for a publishing model. The company could easily create a digital bookstore seamlessly integrated with the social network.
This would be a huge boon to authors and publishers, especially small independent ones, who would gain the potential to reach out directly to their social network to engage their fans, and to promote and sell their books directly on the Facebook platform.
This is just speculation, of course, though it seems like a natural step for Facebook. After all, its Google rival has the eBookstore, so why not follow suit with something a little more innovative?
More immediately however, Facebook will probably use Push Pop Press’s technology to help refine its much-anticipated Facebook iPad app. TechCrunch recently reported what it believed to be the secret iPad app hidden within the code of Facebook’s phone app. Once the story broke, Facebook quickly blocked access to the alleged app.
Speculation over a Facebook iPad app has been buzzing around the Web for months. The recent code leak and purchasing of the iPad book maker should hint to the fact that such an app is set to ship sooner rather than later. And although Facebook remains silent on the matter, expect a Facebook iPad app soon–and perhaps more surprising innovations, as Facebook fights to keep its place on the top of the social networking world.
Ilie Mitaru is a culture and business journalist and an occasional entrepreneu. Follow him on Twitter: @iliemit