September 29, 2009, 12:00 AM

Disney launches an online book subscription site

Disney unveiled today a new online subscription site where children can read and interact with storybooks with the click of a mouse. DisneyDigitalBooks.com offers more than 500 titles as well as reading games to annual or monthly subscribers.

Disney Publishing Worldwide, the children’s publishing business unit of The Walt Disney Co., has launched a new children’s book subscription site. DisneyDigitalBooks.com offers more than 500 titles as well as reading games for an annual subscription fee of $79.95 or a monthly subscription of $8.95.

“We thought this was a good opportunity. Kids like to go online, and with added interactive features they can have fun with books and play with books,” says Yves Saada, vice president of digital media, Disney Publishing Worldwide.

With the click of a mouse, children can turn on-screen pages of stories ranging from Mickey Mouse, Toy Story and Cinderella for the younger set to The Pirates of the Caribbean and Hannah Montana for older kids. They can also click on unfamiliar words to hear them read aloud as well as personalize and create their own stories.

The site was developed over two years by Disney’s research and development team and was tested with about 3,000 families in the U.S. before launching, according to Saada.

“The subscription offers flexibility so if kids go on vacation or to grandma’s, they can have access to their account,” says Saada. “Parents really wanted to have the books where kids are.”

Saada says Disney plans to launch the digital book site outside of the U.S. in 2011. Disney is No. 66 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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