De Agostini relies on Shelf to create his app for children

Giocastorie: De Agostini relies on Shelf to create his flagship app for children

De Agostini turns to Shelf to distribute and sell digital content for children.

GiocaStorie is an app that collects interactive digital stories for young readers from 3 to 8 years old, available for iOS and Android. There are more than 40 publications available in a single library: traditional fairy tales and original stories are grouped in series (according to age), which readers can read, learn and have fun at the same time. Each book is rich in illustrations that come alive with the touch, and contain synchronised read aloud text, sound effects and interactive games.

The app, which can be downloaded free of charge from the stores (here on the AppStore, here on Google Play Store), is an example of the infinite possibilities offered by PubCoder and its distribution platform Shelf. Hosting and selling high quality interactive content is now possible within a single digital ecosystem.

Customized brand identity with a great UX experience with Shelf

From a graphic point of view, the application is completely customized according to the needs of the publisher: we have worked in close collaboration with the editorial team of De Agostini to give users - children and their families - a complete and engaging experience.

Giocastorie Graphic design

The design of the header, the colour of the buttons, the choice of the font and the patterns and background colours were designed and chosen by the client. The UX, on the other hand, is totally supplied by Shelf. In this way, the user who is used to read De Agostini books finds himself in a familiar context, with a navigation experience perfectly optimized for the devices for which the application is made for. This is a very precise choice of design: we leave the publisher/client complete freedom of choice over the interface elements that define its identity, while we take responsibility for the usability choices.


Technical characteristics

From a commercial point of view, De Agostini chose Shelf for its numerous ways of purchasing products in their catalogue. In particular, there are 4 ways to unlock the contents:

  • single purchase via in-app purchase of the vendor. The product has a price, and once the user pays, Apple and Google Play retain 30% of the total amount. At the time of purchase, the content is downloaded and becomes forever the property of the user, who can delete the content at any time (e.g. to free up space on his device), and then restore his purchases, re-downloading the content purchased on his device.
  • Subscription purchase. The user can decide to subscribe and access the entire library for a certain period of time. On GiocaStorie you can subscribe for 1 month, 3 months or 1 year. In this way, you gain access to all the contents of the library for the chosen period. When the subscription is up, the contents (including those already downloaded) are no longer available. For the single purchase, the vendor retains 30% of the total amount.
  • Unlocking via coupons. De Agostini sells and distributes codes associated with one or more contents through its promotional tools, which allow the user to obtain a code and insert it into the app to unlock the books associated with that code.
  • Unlocking via questions/answers. The publisher uses digital content as a promotional tool for its paper books: in this case, by correctly answering a question related to the story of the book, the user proves to have purchased and read the book.
Giocastorie in-app purchase

In all cases, the user is required to register. Registration on one hand guarantees the user continuity between devices: if he buys content on an iPhone and wants to consult it on an Android device, downloading the app from Google Play and entering his credentials he will find all the content already purchased; on the other hand it allows De Agostini to collect "leads" to increase his user base.


A great reading experience

Finally, it is worth mentioning how Shelf manages the fruition of content. A big issue with the EPUB format is that not all devices render content in the same way, especially when interactive. With Shelf we solve this issue by providing an integrated reader in the app perfectly compatible with the authoring system - PubCoder - with which the contents were created. All of this without the publisher having to worry about a DRM, since the format used is an XPUB, a proprietary format not readable by other EPUB readers.

Giocastorie ux

For further information you may consult the dedicated page for the Shelf product:

Paolo Albert

Paolo is responsible for the overall development workflow and roadmap, ebooks and product specifications as well as coding the HTML5, javascript, CSS and iOS exports. Prior to PubCoder, Paolo founded an IT company and spent 15 years helping publishers to develop their own digital products. He is an expert in development and project management on open source projects (PHP based websites and applications), on iOS and based Applications and frameworks. He does R&D in EPUB3 cross-platform development and in HTML5/CSS3 front end web and mobile design and is a speaker at various conferences worldwide dedicated to publishing.