Booklists | January 23, 2015

Top Books Improving Lives in 2014



In 2014, our top ten most completed books on Worldreader Mobile fell into three distinct categories: information about Ebola, romantic novels and practical information about human sexuality. Or, as I like to think of it: survival, escapism and pragmatism.


Late in 2013 a few cases of Ebola were reported in Guinea. Shortly after, new cases sprouted in more African countries in the United States and Europe. Though the worst of it appears to be behind us, it is considered an ongoing epidemic with Liberia and Sierra Leone reporting the largest number of cases and deaths to date.

In the summer of 2014, when confusion and fear of the disease was at its peak, Worldreader published articles about Ebola and today, we have over 60 book titles on the topic. Understandably, this content quickly garnered attention from our readers: more than 60,000 people accessed these articles and books in August. Two pieces can be found on the yearly top ten despite their comparatively late publication date – Ebola: Practical Info by the Centers for Disease Control and Ebola FAQ by the World Health Organization.

Ebola content on Worldreader Mobile


Given the slightly older and largely female audience we attract on Worldreader Mobile, it might be unsurprising to find that a great deal of our most completed books are romantic.

In fact of the top ten six are romance novels, four of which feature women paired with considerably wealthier and aggressive men. The two that break this pattern are The Rancher and The Runaway Bride in which the problem is less about lack of money than it is about the bride’s lack of interest in her groom and Canvas of Dreams in which a woman is presented with two romantic prospects after following her dream of opening an art gallery.

In the other four we have a wealthy self-made Sicilian who woes a woman from his impoverished past (Bought: Destitute yet defiant), a Korean business tycoon whose marriage of convenience to a down-on-her-luck Anglo-Indian woman might become something more (Seoul-Mates), a slight twist on the Pygmalion tale that involves a Greek millionaire (Mia’s Scandal), and a business arrangement between a wealthy man and a single mother which slowly becomes more (Cinderella Story Part 1).


The remaining spots on the top ten both go to basic sexual health information: Male Condom Instruction and 14 Things You Should Know About Sex. Both are short pieces designed to present information clearly and impartially.

When I think about the top ten for 2014 I am reminded of this quote by Charles William Elliot:

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”

He makes the excellent point that in addition to providing people with access to critical information, books also provide something else – solace and entertainment, perhaps even occasionally solace through entertainment. It’s a hard thing to quantify and a nuanced benefit to describe the importance of providing but in the end it might just be as important as the rest of it.

Top countries by number of readers:

  1. India
  2. Ethiopia
  3. Nigeria
  4. Indonesia
  5. Pakistan
  6. Zimbabwe
  7. South Africa
  8. Egypt
  9. Bangladesh
  10. Ghana

Top books by number of completes:

  1. Ebola: Practical Info
  2. Bought: Destitute Yet Defiant
  3. Male condom instruction
  4. The Rancher and the Runaway Bride
  5. 14 Things You Should Know about Sex
  6. Ebola FAQ
  7. Seoul Mates
  8. Canvas of Dreams
  9. Mia’s Scandal
  10. Cinderella Story Part 1

Our library consists of more than 15,000 e-books in 44 languages. Learn more about Worldreader’s digital library.