Our History

From bringing e-books to a single school in Ghana
to reaching 13 million readers in 46 countries,
here’s a glimpse at Worldreader’s
journey over the last 10 years.

Worldreader’s story began with a simple question.

What if we could use technology to reach people in places where books are scarce and make it easier for those people to read? Maybe, we thought, this could finally be the solution to ending illiteracy.

We started small

In 2010 we visited a school in Ghana, taking with us a bunch of kindles loaded with books. We didn’t know what to expect. We watched the kids start to read— the curiosity you could see in their faces was every bit as exciting as it is when you look at your own kids. After finishing a book, they would look up and say “can we have another one?” and within 90 seconds they would be reading again. Very quickly we realized this was going to work.

We first brought e-reading programs to schools, then libraries. Over time, we understood that we could reach even more people by making our ever-growing library of digital books available on mobile phones. So in 2013, we launched Worldreader for mobile phones, making it possible for anyone, anywhere with a data-connected phone to access thousands of digital books.

One thing led to another

Today we’ve reached over 13 million readers in 62 countries.  Our reading programs span from helping parents read to their children in India and Jordan, to transforming entire library and school systems in countries in Africa, to enabling lifelong learning via our Worldreader app.

Recently, we received a note from Michael Kazungu, the head Librarian at knls Kwale Library, which describes just how reading programs can touch people’s lives. In his note, Michael wrote “change doesn’t come in a day, it is a process. I am part of that process of making sure that reading reaches out to every corner of this world. Your idea has changed individuals like me, it has changed institutions like the Kenya National Library, it has changed school performance like redeemed Academy in Kwale-Ukunda. It changed communities; where I am standing today as a librarian is not where I stood in 2016 before the e-reading program with Worldreader. I have a lot to say, but let me say thank you.” 

“Change doesn’t come in a day, it is a process. I am part of that process of making sure that reading reaches out to every corner of this world. Where I am standing today as a librarian is not where I stood in 2016 before the e-reading program with Worldreader.” – Michael Kazungu

We’ve learnt a ton along the way

And we keep learning more every day. One of the most valuable things we understood early on reminds us of an African Proverb: if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together. Partnerships have been instrumental to our impact. The support we’ve received along the way and the partnerships we’ve developed with like-minded organizations have enabled us to scale and create impact beyond our wildest dreams.

Thank you for being part of Worldreader’s story

We’re 10 years old and have so far reached over 13 million readers around the world. We can’t wait to reach the next billion and help readers build a better world.