January 19, 2022

Literacy: Worldreader and Opera Software Partnership Reaches 5 Million Readers in Africa via Mobile Phones

From a Worldreader:

Worldreader, a global nonprofit dedicated to improving literacy in the developing world through digital books, today announces a new partnership with Opera Software that has provided 5 million readers in Africa access to 25,000 free digital book titles, via their mobile phones. The nonprofit aims to reach 10 million readers with its digital library by the end of 2015.

According to a 2014 joint study from Worldreader and UNESCO female readers in the developing world read up to six times more than men, and once women start reading on their phones, they are generally more engaged than men. During one three-month period, women spent an average of 207 minutes per month reading on their phones, compared to just 33 minutes for men. “These findings suggest that making digital books available on mobile phones can help women enormously,” says Wood. “Women can now access information on health, safety, career; topics traditionally unavailable to them.”

To date, the Worldreader Opera partnership has reached 5 million people in 34 countries across Africa. On a global scale, Worldreader has reached over 6 million readers, adding about 1 million new readers each month through Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The most popular literary categories among these new readers are Love, Sports, Education, and Health.


The Worldreader Opera partnership provides 25,000 of the best titles from Worldreader’s book publishing partners. The titles were selected to be fresh, relevant, sought-after titles that readers around the globe want to read. Worldreader also selected a variety of titles that may not be widespread but will have particular relevance and significance to many countries in Africa. Titles include works such as Tale of Tamari by Shimmer Chinodya, This Place I Call Home by Meg Vandermerwe, Blossoms of the Savannah by Henry R. ole Kulet, and Asare Konadu’s A Woman in Her Prime.

Read the Complete Announcement

Some Additional Facts From the Worldreader Blog

  • Which country is reading the most? 23% of our readers come from Ethiopia.
  • Are readers mostly male or female? Mostly male – 65% male, 35% female.
  • Who is reading more on their mobile phones? Women. On average, women are reading 48% more than men. (Women read 11.5 minutes per session while men read 6.5 minutes per session).
  • How engaged are our readers? Active readers are spending 17 minutes reading per session.
  • What topics are popular with the readers? The most popular literary categories amongst these new readers are Love, Sports, Education, and Health.
  • What books are most popular? Most popular books include The Art of Public Speaking (education), Nutrition & Growth (health), Milk & Honey (romance), Laubach Way to Reading (education).
About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.