| October 10, 2012

Half Million People Reading on Phone App; 24 Million Pages Read


By Periša Ražnatović

There’s only one thing Worldreader loves as much as reading – and that’s learning about how we can get more people reading.

While our e-reader program focuses on delivering e-books to students and schools, we knew there were other platforms — like low-end, feature phones — people in the developing world have access to and may read on if they had books to read.

Since February when we announced our app, developed with our partner biNu, we have learned a lot about people’s reading habits on mobile phones. We know where they’re from, what genres they like and how many pages they’re flipping through.

Today, our app books and short stories reach 490,000 readers globally. That’s about 12 percent of biNu’s four million users worldwide, a percentage that’s growing every month as we add more content. Our most active readers are in Nigeria, India, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Ghana.

And, it gets even better. Worldreader app users are reading 24 million pages a month, browsing novels, classics, adventure, romance, religious and various other genres.

As our learning spirit never rests, we were curious to see who our followers are and what they like reading. The biNu platform provides a remarkable tool for finding out this sort of data. Their survey feature allowed us to conduct ad-hoc research and get to know our readers better.

We posted a number of questions to our users and asked about their reading habits and preferences. In a short period of time, 17,773 people from more than 100 countries responded.

We learned some interesting things from the survey. For instance, we know that the majority of our users are under the age of 35 (89.1 percent). Almost half of that majority are students in the process of obtaining a university degree, while 29.4 percent have already earned one. From this, we concluded that app readers are similar to us — they love to learn. In fact, the survey showed that learning was their number one reason for using the mobile application.

We did not stop there. We wanted to know how much Worldreader app users actually read. And we got an encouraging result! Our survey showed that almost all of our readers read at least once a week, while one in four users read every day. In addition to reading often, 41.3 percent of Worldreader users read more than an hour, on average.

Finally, in order to get to know them better, we were interested in our readers’ genre preferences. We realized that love is all around us, as our readership was mainly interested in romance, leaving action, textbooks and other genres behind.


While we still have a lot to learn about how readers in the developing world will continue to use their phones and how they will consume the content they can find on it, this gives us a peak into mini-libraries they are literally carrying around in their pockets. As we go forward, we’ll be thinking up even more ways to keep them flipping pages, or scrolling through screens, as the case may be.