De Agostini Libri: towards a print and digital ecosystem for kids

The last edition of the Bologna Book Fair was the occasion to delve into kids media consumption and communication and marketing strategies set up in order to capture Millenials attention. We asked Karen Nahum, Digital Director De Agostini Libri her point of view towards these themes.

Which is according to you the best way to engage with young readers?

De Agostini Books is designing the reader experience beetween paper and digital, enhancing the concept of eco-system in which paper and digital cohexist as an expression of ‘read as it is confortable for you’, not as opposition of paper versus digital but as expression of continuity between formats and platforms and experiences, especially in our children offer.

We are developing an offer which starts from the concept, in many cases developed internally, from paper and can be declined on digital, as a part or as an independent product, as part of our multi channel content publishing, print and various digital options.

Some of our initiatives mean to strenghten this link between thee physical and digital world in order to deliver an integrated experience, engage our readers in labs and on social, have informations about their tastes and interactions.

Which are the most succesful examples in this area?

In the case of the collaboration with Timbuktu, a start-up based in San Francisco aiming to combine storytelling, technology and new ways to engage kids and build educational interactive experiences, we built togheter a combined experience with both paper and digital for the interactive stories series ‘Missione Paura’. It was the first editorial case of combined experience: paper books and digital animated books, digital version available on the iStorie app with games, digital books for iBooks Store and Kobo.


In this digital scenario both De Agostini and Timbuktu took part in the promotional activities as organization of digital labs for kids starting form the launch, and more recently in a city tour around Italy which provided an opportunity not just to present the product but to speak with kids and parents and receive first hand feedbacks from the young users.

All the digital products for the ‘Missione Paura series’ and the others we are developing with other inprints, are collected in iStorie our kiosk app (for ios and android) which is part of the ecosystem and presents the enhanced books we built

Another very nice experience we have lauched both in paper and digital is the case of ‘Fiabe Preziose’ a serie of classic stories, beautifully illustrated by outstanding illustrators. The series has been developed in paper and digital format. The reader from the paper can unlock the digital experience. This possibility has been very well perceived by our readers; the digital experience then can also be purchased from iBookstore. The Stories where also featured in an audio selection by Apple.

Another way we are bringing interactive experiences in our books is with White Star Childrens Books where we developed an additional interactive experience with games and activities that can be launched from the app iStorie with augmented reality. We enriched ‘the Stories of Esopo’ and The Marvellous King’ with beautiful games and interactions which can be unlocked from paper.

Another initiative which brought us the possibility to develop digital first and build a native interactive experience was through the contest ‘Create the book of the future’, held in Spring 2014, which identified 4 interesting projects and stories to become interactive digital books for De Agostini. In particular the one awarded as the winner of the contest ‘Milano ad altezza bambino’, an interactive e-book for kids, filled with games and interactions which aims at discovering the city of Milano in 10 steps. The other titles developed were: ‘Il Vanto del Vento’, ‘Se fosse’ and ‘L’amore è un ravanello’. This initiative shows that not only cross-media marketing strategies but also the capability to open up to new players and voices, especially in the digital field, can be successful. The book then has been selected by Apple one of the top 10 experiences for kids of the iBookstore. The book then gave us the possibility to experiment, to work on a developing experience with labs with kids and update the tour of Milano with new point of interest while developing activities with kids.


milanoadaltezza bambino

What about the educational area?

While working on entertainment side, we are also working on the gamification of the educational experience with De Agostini Scuola sharing experiences. This year we developed an offer for the primary school that presents an ecosystem where we have print, additional activities for the class, digital books and apps. To teach Math and Italian language we developed a system of three apps. We also added to our offer of contents materials to learn how to code in collaboration with the Ministry of Education Program ‘Programma il Futuro’.

The engeeneering of the editorial process and development is still in progress, we just started our journey of transformation but we are proud of the results achieved in the meanwhile both enhancing the paper product and developing new digital experiences designed for the medium.

What about the team behind the examples you made? How to combine editorial and technological assetts within the same project?

In all the innovation projects, it’s important to keep it simple, not to transform it in a technology problem and work for the possibility to abilitate content on new platforms with the correct skills. In the DeAgostini Libri Digital Team we have an attention to user experience design, we have people with gamedesign experience and digital marketing skills and we cooperate with the editorial team to bring to our readers the best experience we can.


DOI: 10.17400/SB-2015-05-03

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