Disney launches digital book service for children

Hannah Montana is part of Disney's new project
Hannah Montana is part of Disney's new project

LONDON - Hannah Montana, Mickey Mouse and even Winnie the Pooh have all joined the digital age, with the launch of an ambitious new digital book service from Disney.

Disney Digital Books is a new subscription-based website where families can access more than 500 electronic replicas of Disney books for $79.95 a year (£50).

Disney has claimed the move - aimed at children aged 3 to 12 - will transform how children read its storybooks in a move being touted as industry-defining by the entertainment giant.

The interaction on offer from a technical point of view is certainly impressive. The website is organised by reading level - in the 'look and listen' section for beginning readers, the books will be read aloud by voice actors to accompanying music, with each word highlighted on the screen as it is spoken.

Another area is dedicated to children who read on their own, with children able to highlight unfamiliar words that are then read aloud.

"For parents, this isn't going to replace snuggle time with a storybook," said Yves Saada, vice president of digital media. "We think you can have different reading formats co-existing together."

Although Disney is claiming the move represents a media first, it is not the first publisher to experiment online.

About 1,000 children's titles are now available digitally from HarperCollins, while Scholastic boasts BookFlix, a subscription service for schools and libraries that pairs a video storybook with a nonfiction e-book on a related topic. Elsewhere, 'Curious George' is available on the iPhone.

Saada said Disney Publishing also has digital aspirations for smart phones and other devices in the future, but for now Disney will focus on the site.

The new offering is being backed with a large-scale advertising campaign that will see 3m promotional postcards distributed at screenings of Disney films, and social media activity designed to reach 14m mothers.

Prior to Disney Digital Books, Disney Publishing has only dipped its toes in the digital media space, having sold young adult titles on Amazon's Kindle and licensing a handful of storybook titles to LeapFrog, the educational toy maker.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message