Rizzoli Launches First Immersive Narrative Ebook Collection for Kids at Bologna Children’s Book Fair

The first ever ebook-based immersive narration of the world’s 30 most popular fairy tales in Italy


Once upon a time there were a lot of fairy tales all over the globe. Tales were told or dramatically played and handed down orally from generation to generation, long before the written era. In the past couple of centuries they also became printed books; in the past decades, audiobooks; and very recently, simple, minimally entertaining digital books. Throughout the centuries, we lost the concept of “immersive narration” with live performing actors, in exchange for broader access, near-to-zero economies, and anytime/anywhere consumption.

Now it’s just about time to resume the concept of “immersive narration” and build a new paradigm for today’s children — a paradigm, though, that protects “narration” from “distraction,” as fairy tales aren’t games; they serve a different purpose.

Rizzoli pioneers a new way of storytelling for kids and their parents. It’s launching a new ebook-only collection — called “Le Grandi Fiabe Narrate” — of the world’s 30 most popular fairy tales for kids at Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

Illustrated print books and audiobooks merge to breed a new generation of digital books – a generation that goes beyond the conventional fairy tales editions and that broadens the horizons for the narration.

State-of-the-art ebook technology (ePub3) and publishing excellence together enable a new experience of immersive narration — for tablets and smartphones — that looks very simple and intuitive such as the experience of a traditional ebook (it doesn’t look like a fancy app). Behind the simplicity of the user experience, there is the complexity of user experience design and the adopted technology based on PubCoder tool suite.

However, content and user experience design come first. Technology, in this case, is mainly a key enabler of innovation.

In every one of Rizzoli’s new fairy tales, the voices of the actors (real professionals, not computers) are synchronized with the text that gets highlighted step by step to allow kids to better link the voice to the phrases. Each character, including the narrator, is played by a different actor so the voices are easily distinguishable. Moreover, thanks to new contextual sound effects, the narrative experience is deeper than ever: doors open, wind blows, glass breaks to pieces, and so on… Furthermore incidental music and audio signals to suggest a page turn ease the entertainment of the littlest kids even without assistance of their parents for as long as 30 minutes. Finally every page contains colored drawings, illustrations and simple motion effects to fully engage the audience. Here a short videoclip on YouTube (in English language for DBW, adapted from the original in Italian language).

Last but not least, for older kids and parents who wish to read the fairy tales aloud, all audio features can be disabled. In this way a classic digital reading experience can be delivered as well as an audio-only one. Three different narrative experiences, all-in-one triple-play ebook:  immersive-narration, classic reading, audio-only. Again, content and user experience come first, then all the rest.

Ebooks will be immediately available on the top stores that support EPUB3 best: currently the iBookstore and Kobo. Both are very popular in Italy. Other top stores are currently missing, as they don’t support  the cool features designed with EPUB3 for this fairy tale collection. In fact, some other top store might soon be jumping aboard.

Immersive-narration has never been so simple and cool, maybe even not in the past centuries with live performing actors. But more importantly, kids and parents will (hopefully) love it.

An open demo event is scheduled on Wednesday, March 26th at 2:30pm at Rizzoli’s stand (H-26 A42) in the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. For more information please contact francesca.colletti@guest.rcs.it.


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Marcello Vena

About Marcello Vena

Marcello Vena is the founder and managing partner of All Brain, the world's first on-demand leadership services organisation for top executives in the media and publishing industry, focused on exploring, inventing, delivering and executing businesses aimed at the future. Previously Marcello Vena had founded from scratch and managed the entire digital trade book business of RCS Mediagroup, one of the largest European publishers and owner of book prestigious publishing houses such as Rizzoli, Bompiani and Fabbri Editori. He has almost 20 years of business innovation experience across three continents (Europe, US & Asia), encompassing the roles of designer, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, management consultant, negotiator and general manager. Before entering the publishing industry in 2010, he has been working on innovating product, service, process and organizations in diverse industries such as: aerospace, semiconductor, internet, pharma&biotech, home appliances, apparel, logistics. He holds an MBA degree with Dean’s List Distinction from INSEAD (France, Singapore) and a MS degree on Electronics Engineering. He speaks all five main languages of Western Europe. Renowned speaker at international events on publishing (New York, London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Milan, Gothenburg) and member of the Digital Book World 2015 Conference Council. Twitter @marcellovena www.allbrain.org


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