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Worldreader and Opera Bring Books to 5 Million Readers in Africa via Mobile Phones

A-young-man-holiding-a-mobile-phone-showing-his-Worldreader-library-of-booksThe four-month-old partnership between Opera and the literacy non-profit Worldreader is already bearing fruit.

Worldreader announced on Monday that five million readers have used the app that Opera and Worldreader developed.

This app, which is prominently featured in Opera Mini in 34 African countries, enables readers to access a free online library consisting of 28,000 ebooks. That catalog spans 43 languages and a dozen categories, and includes ebooks from US and international publishers such as Publerati, Penguin Random House, Mills & Boo, and Open Road Media.

Worldreader may have gotten its start with literacy programs focused on distributing Kindles, but it has long since adopted a more platform-agnostic view. While the non-profit was able to get Kindles in the hands of thousands of readers, switching to reading apps has enabled Worldreader to bring ebooks to millions of readers.

"We want to make sure the entire world has access to the books they need and want," said 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."

The app is designed to work on small screens, and supports both online and offline reading. Initially developed as a web app, Worldreader Mobile is now available in Google Play, Windows Store, the Firefox Marketplace, and the Opera Mobile Store. It’s also available online at (but only for mobile phones).

Worldreader expects to reach ten million readers by the end of the year. They say that nearly a quarter of their readers come from Ethiopia, and that two-thirds are male.

Here are a few more facts about the readers:

  • 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).


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