| August 18, 2014

Open Road Integrated Media Donates 260+ Books to Worldreader


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In Open Road Integrated Media I like to think Worldreader always saw a natural ally: we are a charity that works with digital books and they are a mostly digital publisher.

For us, the weightless nature of e-books has allowed us to disrupt the traditional model of book donation and provisioning in developing countries. For Open Road it has meant, among many things, the chance to do business differently. Whereas most publishers focus their marketing might on front list titles, Open Road focuses almost entirely on backlist, extends marketing cycles longer than usual and offers an atypical 50/50 revenue split with authors.

When I met Jane Friedman (Founder), Tina Pohlman (Publisher) and Michael Palgon (Senior Vice President, Distribution and Business development) in late May, just prior to the chaos that is Book Expo America, the meeting went somewhat as I had always imagined it would go. There was an instant click: they got what Worldreader does without me really having to explain it. What I had not been expecting was for Jane to lean back in her chair, afterward and say, on the spot, “Okay, let’s do this.”

I left their offices with a smile that was hard to erase and today, am very excited to announce our partnership with Open Road. Over 260 new books have been added to our programs, to be read by children and their families in 22 developing countries. Some of our favorites include:

  • Bafana Bafana – an uplifting story about Pele, an eleven year old boy from the outback so determined to see his soccer idol, Sibusiso Zuma, play that he treks hundreds of kilometers to Cape Town.
  • The Box Car Children Series– The heartwarming tale of four orphaned children who make their home in a boxcar and find out the truth about their grandfather.
  • The Good Earth – Pearl S Buck’s classic about a poor Chinese peasant farmer and his wife, a former slave, as they struggle to find material success and happiness in their lives.
  • Ama – the spell binding story of Nandzi, captured and traded as a slave in the days of the transatlantic slave trade.
  • Chicken Soup for the Child’s Soul – a collection of heartfelt stories for children, to help them as they explore their relationships and develop their values.

Thank you Open Road for your tremendous generosity!

Other Publishers interested in donating their content to Worldreader should write to publishing@worldreader.org.