Announces Reading Trends from iREAD Pilot in Ghana

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Students and teachers are downloading thousands of books based on their individual interests and are discovering the world

"Now that we have the e-reader, we are on cloud nine.", a charitable organization whose mission is to bring books to children and families in the developing world, today released initial reading trends from its iREAD pilot study, where 500 students and teachers are using e-readers in six schools in Kade and Adeiso, Ghana.

The digital nature of e-books allows large quantities to be sent immediately with nearly no distribution cost. So far, Worldreader has loaded 35,528 e-books onto e-readers, the equivalent of roughly 28 standard ISO 20 foot freight containers that would have cost nearly $50,000 to ship, and would have taken months to arrive. Students and teachers who previously had little access to books now have on average 83 donated books each, ranging from local textbooks to international literature.

Worldreader has partnered with a number of Sub-Saharan publishers including EPP Book Services and Sam Woode, Ltd., to make available 50 local books and textbooks, giving access to existing materials used in the classroom.

In addition, students and teachers are actively using their e-readers to select books based on their own interests. For instance, at Kade Junior and Senior High Schools, 66% of the student body have downloaded books and samples that interest them; these students have downloaded on average 7 items each over the last 4 weeks.

“The Worldreader students are reading more than in our wildest dreams,” said David Risher, President and Co-founder of Worldreader. “They’re using e-readers like Harry Potter works port-keys, letting them explore the world.” The program’s top readers, both girls, downloaded 21 and 17 books. Popular categories include self-help books like; The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, classics such as War and Peace, religious texts including The Bible and The Koran, and sports titles including ESPN- the Football Playbook. International Best Sellers are also popular, including, The Room, The Glass Castle, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Cleopatra the life, to name a few. Over 14 students have downloaded samples from the Millennium Trilogy.

In addition to in-class work, teachers are using their e-readers for personal use and are showing great erudition. One primary-school teacher downloaded 178 free books including: Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Nietzsche, Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates, Tales of Old Japan, and The Life of Buddha and Its Lessons. Before Worldreader’s work, teachers in these schools had access to very little reading material; now they can discover the world and bring new information and ideas to the classroom.

There is strong evidence that e-readers were shared among family members and friends. At Kade primary school, e-readers showed The Economist. Over 25 students or families have subscribed to a two-week sample of a US-based newspaper; the most popular newspapers are The New York Times and International Herald Tribune.

“Students are devouring books. In addition to thousands of free books, now they are getting to follow Jack and Annie around the world in their Magic Tree House series, generously donated by Random House. It is our hope that other publishers will join us in making a lasting impact on literacy in the developing world,” said Elizabeth Wood, Director of Publishing.

Recent media coverage can be found at:

Publisher information: publishing(at)worldreader(dot)org

For further information please contact:
Susan Moody at susan(at)worldreader(dot)org
US +1 (206) 860-5097
Spain +(34) 639-366-634

About ( is a not-for-profit organization whose aim is to put a library of books within reach of every family on the planet, using electronic book technology like's Kindle (AMZN). Just as mobile phones have leapfrogged landlines across much of the developing world, is helping make e-readers become the easiest, least expensive, and most reliable way to deliver books to underserved areas and underprivileged peoples.

Founded in 2009 by former Microsoft and executive David Risher and Head of Marketing at Barcelona’s ESADE Business School, Colin McElwee, has successfully conducted e-reader trials in the village of Ayenyah, Ghana, and is currently running a yearlong iREAD pilot study in Adeiso and Kade with the support of Ghana’s Ministry of Education. We rely on the generous help of our donors and partners such as Random House, Inc., who generously donated thousands of titles, and our publishing partners in Africa; Sam Woode Ltd., EPP Book Services, and Woeli Publishing Services.


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