WordReader.org have just announced completion of a pilot program. From ReadWriteWeb:
Worldreader.org has just finished a proof of concept for ereader use in the African country of Ghana. Verdict? Yeah, it works. It helps increase literacy. So they're going to do a lot more of it.
"Books to All" is the motto of this non-profit spearheaded by David Risher, who led Amazon's Product Development for five years.
In March, Worldreader finished their Phase 1 trial, using 20 Kindle-brand ereaders in the village of Ayenyah, Ghana. Results were good.
"During this trial, we found that the Kindle ereader and digital books helped new readers learn to read, got the kids reading more, and gave access to hundreds of thousands of books, in less time and at lower cost than printed books."
I had heard about this some time back and I held off on reporting on it. It took me a while to decide that i think this was a waste of money.
I love digital content. I love my ereaders. But I also know that there are times that electronics do not win out over paper. This is one of those times.
The pilot program used 20 Kindles, which means the hardware cost was ~$6k. With all that money, they only helped 20 people at one time. If they had used paper books, then they could have given that village a library with 3,000 titles. How many people could they have helped at once?
I bet someone will point out all the defects of paper. This is true, On the other hand, the Kindle is dependent on electricity which is unreliable in many third world countries. The Kindle also has a fragile screen.
Sorry, folks, paper wins here.