Notes on Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2012

Posted by on Apr 9, 2012 in Articles | Comments Off on Notes on Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2012

This year at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Portugal was the guest of honor country. It was introduced for the first time the Bologna Ragazzi Digital Prize where a significant number of digital and interactive stories were submitted. The nomination list was about 20 books, the winner was Dan Mon Rêve and an honor mention to Numberlys and Quem Soltou o Pum. The Tools of Change conference (TOC) where the prize was announced, raised and important set of directions for the digital publishing namely strategies to enter the digital and interactive channel by publishers, authors, illustrators and developers.

There’s an estimate for the digital content for children between 0 – 12 years to double annually during the next four years. Nevertheless this is not an huge grow, since the absolute values on this market are still very low.

From Disney, one of the strong brands, it was stated that for next year there will be a trend about interconnecting the online and offline platforms, connecting mobile apps with real toys through new technologies like augmented reality. This way, a child can, perhaps create a story putting Lightning McQueen running inside their own play room. Dominic Raccah, […] revealed some of the challenges publishing will face on this digital era, like the platform diversity, content discoverability, screen dimensions and the way illustrations should be developed for digital and interactive media. Eric Hoftun from SnowCastle shared the vision that the best way to tell children a story is through games, an engaging way to catch the interest. Nat Sims, from Night & Day Studios said that the way children use touch screens is playing an increasing and important role, because they’re facing a controlled cognitive environment. Jos Carlyle, from Persian Cat Press emphasized that a digital book production due to its very different nature is more difficult to build from a printed version than if it is thought for digital since the beginning. All the key parts of an interactive book such as music, illustration, narrative, illustration, should be an active part for the the same history.

Pricing is still unbalanced between book apps and ebooks. Users are more willing to pay for ebooks than for book apps, even though the last ones are more expensive to produce. Another point is the idea that interactive books are cannibalizing printed books is not linear, we must admit that, instead, it can be a competitor for the TV, games and music.

An interesting project that was presented was Fable, the first tablet designed specifically for children, who’s main objectives are minimizing or even solve two major concerns when discussing about tablets for children: pricing and content control.

To complete, the digital channel for publishing proves to be promising, but there are a lot of doubts, uncertainties and fears from the stakeholders of this industry.We are facing a global challenge of producing new artistic forms that could use multi-sensorial capabilities available within current mobile devices. Although the building principles are different from print to digital and interactive books, the most important ones stay the same: creativity, innovation, engaging stories and excellent visual and audio assets.

Humberto Neves

in Noticias do Parque