E-books, the way of the future?

After doing our sector presentation on education this week, I thought it might be interesting to further investigate some of the things we had been talking. I found this article about the Worldreader program.

Worldreader is currently two years old, and has distributed 1,100 kindle e-readers. Along with this, they have also distributed 180,000 e-books. This program currently runs at about $5 a book, in comparison with Room to Read, which can print and deliver one of their books to a school in Africa for about $1 per book. So Worldreader is still significantly more expensive. Having said that, these readers have huge potential. They can last for weeks on a single charger, and allow many books to be transported without the burden of carrying them.

Worldreader has also undergone it’s first study by the U.S. Agency for International Development, which found that standardized test scores for children with e-readers typically improved 13%-16%.

I’ll be interested to see if this project scales well, because at this point the results seem very positive.


About zgoldmann

3 responses to “E-books, the way of the future?

  • hfritchi

    After viewing the website to get some more information on this project, an important aspect I came across was that many of the books offered in the program are from African publishers and authors. This is critical to community involvement as well as any language or cultural barriers that could be barriers to success.

  • gmizrahi

    I also recently posted a blog about an organization that is distributing e-readers in africa. It is nice to see the rapid growth of this useful technology, however, it is important to not that there is not too much overlap in this field of IDEV, and that too many different organizations are not trying to do the same project, which could end up stunting the programs in the long run.

  • ecowle

    A common problem seen with many other ICTs occurs here. You say that the readers can last a long time on a single charge, yet you don’t assess the obstacles to getting that charge. Many villages in Africa have no electricity, let alone the internet access required to download books. To be able to recharge and download books would require solar power sufficient to run a computer and internet access, which would cost exorbitant amounts. Is the program also funding these initiatives. What happens when something breaks or requires servicing? The idea is good in theory but how is it really helping?

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