| December 1, 2014

Over 1 Million Hours of Mobile Reading in 2014



If you think people in the developing world don’t read on their mobile phones, think again. This year alone, people across Africa and Asia have spent 1,028,109 hours reading on Worldreader Mobile. That’s a whopping 42,838 days and a mind-blowing 117 years!

Our readers have used their phone to devour a range of reading materials including Caine prize-winning short stories, health information on Ebola and HIV, children’s picture books, Harlequin romance novels, science textbooks and biographies – just to name a few.

Firstly, it’s incredible that one million hours of reading have happened in parts of the world where paper books are scarce. This arguably would not have been possible if Worldreader’s free digital library weren’t handily available on cellphones– devices that more and more people have access to, even in the poorest parts of the world.

But equally incredible is that, thanks to the data we get in real time, we know that this reading is happening. With paper book distribution, it’s very difficult to know if a book ever gets cracked. Yet with digital books, we ‘see’ our readers consuming books, page by page. Every day we get half a million lines of data, telling us where our readers are, what they are reading, how long they’re reading and what they are searching.

This data is truly exciting as we see our impact in realtime. More importantly, it helps us define our content acquisition strategy. For example, we look at navigation data to show us which content categories are most popular with our readers. Our 2014 data shows that our top books genres are romance and education, followed by self-help, poetry, short stories, and fantasy. We can drill down even further to see that within the education category, science is the top interest, followed closely by language learning and math.

Through ongoing analysis of this data, we are able to curate the Worldreader digital library to meet our readers’ needs in the hopes that we can get more people reading more. We enabled over 1 million hours of reading in 2014 and in 2015 we want to set a new record. 10 million hours perhaps?

Mobile reading in the developing world is transforming lives, read more about it in the UNESCO report Reading in the Mobile Era. Interested in supporting our mobile work? Contact elizabeth@worldreader.org.