[RESEARCH] Why have digital experiences for young people not met their audience?

French version of this article published here:


Children's literature has an experimental dimension because it constantly innovates and develops original concepts to communicate with every public. Indeed, this literature is aimed at audiences who do not have the same reading skills: It is aimed at experienced readers, apprentice readers and non-readers.

The resulting artistic approaches distinguish this sector as “abundant and creative ” (Van der Linden, 2015).

However, the digital transformation of the industry called into question the survival of these books. The problem becomes more complex for traditional publishers with the launch on the market of Apple’s iPad tablet in 2010. The entrance of this touchpad represents a turning point in publishing. It prophets the birth of new literary experiences, ready to change alter habits and practices.

The first digital books "t[ook] up the whole text presentation system" (Bélisle, 2004) but the interactivity permitted by the tablet and the ease with which children use this tool has subsequently led new publishers, called pure players, to offer interactive reading experiences to youngsters.

However, the digital market has not experienced the expected growth. Therefore, we will try to understand, through this series of articles : "Why have digital experiences for young people not met their audience?"

We will first evoke elements concerning the transition from paper to digital books.

Then, we will explore the two trends of digital books: copy the paper book or get rid of everything recalling it.

Finally, we will hypothesize that the digital ecosystem is responsible for the downfall of these creative books.