Programs to improve literacy in developing countries typically focus on delivering books to schoolchildren and libraries. Could E-readers leapfrog traditional printed paper books and provide a catalyst for reading in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa? That’s the innovative notion behind Worldreader a new nonprofit with an impressive plan.
Providing electronic reading devices to students in developing countries may appear to be an extravagant solution to a simple problem. But David Risher, former Microsoft and Amazon executive and Worldreader founder, believes that they can drive down costs of book delivery, while at the same time promote the publishing of local content.
Worldreader is counting on the notion that the infrastructure for supporting E-readers already exists in much of the developing world, thanks to widespread networks for connecting and charging mobile phones. E-readers can use the same networks to download books.
So far, Worldreader’s start-up costs have come mainly from Risher, his co-founders and corporate supporters like Amazon and Random House. You can learn more and become a supporter at their website.