Between Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, Google Books, and many other sites, there are many free ebooks available on the web. Unfortunately, far too many people lack the computers or internet required to access the cornucopia, and Project Hart wants to do something about this problem.
This non-profit is picking up where Worldreader left off. Project Hart wants to solve the ebook access issue by giving ereaders full of ebooks to people in need, and today Project Hart is asking for your help to raise funds to buy those ereaders. They’re also willing to accept donations of ereaders which can be refurbished and given away to those in need.
You can find out more over on the Project Hart website.
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While this is a laudable goal, it’s worth remembering that this is not the first non-profit to try this idea. Worldreader started with exactly the same goal, only to discover that it was more effective to promote ebook apps which could run on the smartphones (and cheap feature phones).
A smartphone like the Lucky LG16 or the ZTE Valet costs far less than an ereader and can do so much more than just read ebooks. And that is why any literacy project that wants to get ebooks into the hands of the needy should seriously consider whether an $80 ereader is really a better value than a $20 smartphone (or a $50 Android tablet like the Fire tablet or the Digiland DL718M, for that matter).
Which would give the biggest bang for the buck, do you think?
image by Johan Larsson