Worldreader, a global literacy non-profit organisation, has teamed-up with one of the world´s most popular mobile browser Opera Software to try to offer free digital books to more than 10 million readers by the end of 2015. By Gugu Lourie
The organisation has so far reached 5 million mobile readers in Africa. Globally, it has enabled over 6 million people in Asia, Africa and South America, to get access to, read and enjoy over 28,500 free digital books, via their mobile phones.
The San Francisco-based organisation is dedicated to improving literacy in the developing world through digital books.
Mobile phones are becoming ubiquitous throughout Africa. For many people, it’s their only window to the connected world as mobile internet infrastructure and coverage is growing fast and driving the cost of data down.
“We want to make sure the entire world has access to the books they need and want,” says Elizabeth Hensick Wood, Managing Director for Worldreader, Europe. “Through this partnership, Opera and Worldreader aim to reach millions of people every month, across 34 African countries, through the cell phones they already have.”
Mobile phones are affordable, easy to keep charged, and widely available in Africa and offered a great opportunity to improve literacy.
The most popular literary categories among these new readers are Love, Sports, Education, and Health.
“For the millions of people in Africa who already use the Opera Mini browser, this makes reading on a mobile phone as easy as making a call,” says Richard Monday, VP Africa, Opera Software. “We’ve placed the Worldreader icon in a coveted space on the Opera Mini speed-dial; right next to the Wikipedia button, because we believe access to reading, and access to knowledge go hand-in-hand. We hope access to these tools will help make our world more connected, empowered, and educated.”
Since its founding in 2010, Worldreader has observed hundreds of libraries in the developing world which are often closed, under-funded, or lacking in relevant book titles.
“While more affluent parts of the world may view digital reading as a luxury, we see it as a necessity in the developing world, where physical books are often non-existent,” says Wood.
The Worldreader Opera partnership provides 25,000 of the best titles from Worldreader’s book publishing partners.