Booklists | January 5, 2016

Top Books Read in 2015


At Worldreader, we talk a lot about access. Access is the initial hurdle when building a literate world, so books need to be easily accessible, especially in places where they have historically been sparse. Thanks to Worldreader, readers anywhere in the world can access a library of over 28,000 free books in dozens of languages.

So what happens when someone in Accra or Delhi has access to a library of free books on their mobile phone?

They read.

Girl reading on Worldreader mobile on her mobile phone

This week we released the top digital books read by children and adults on mobile devices across Asia and Africa in 2015. In total, over 6 million children, adults and families read more than 17 million hours on our mobile phone applications and Kindle e-readers.


17 million is an extraordinary number, but perhaps more interesting is discovering what people are reading and why. In 2015 we looked at top books among children, adults, women and men. Some of the data matched industry trends, like romance being one of the top genres, but other findings yielded a new perspective, which might have something to do with the device our users are reading on.  

The top 5 books read by men and women across Africa and Asia are near mirrors of each other. Both lists are populated with Romance titles, like First Love…Thinking of Him and sexual health guides, like 14 Things You Should Know about Sex. Considering societal constraints, such as ideas about what men should read and what material is considered not feminine, it’s interesting to see men’s and women’s taste as similar until you consider this: reading on a mobile phone offers a private reading environment a print book cannot afford.

Woman reading about sexual health on worldreader mobile on her mobile phone

The introduction of privacy alters reader habits and preferences. Men are reading romance in abundance and women are reading sexual health guides. “Sexual Harassment” is one of the top search terms for 2015, ranking at #13. This is the power of digital reading in 2015.

Reading patterns for children in these countries is equally as interesting. Of the top ten books read by children across sub-Saharan Africa, 80 percent came from local authors and publishers. Children need to see themselves in the story – characters, scenery, names, and traditions should be relevant to the early reader. Kofi has Malaria, an early reader about a Ghanaian boy who contracts malaria, and that teaches children about prevention and care for the disease, is one of the top five books.

The 2015 Worldreader Book Report is a treasure trove of insights about readers in the Global South previously unavailable before the advent of digital reading. As more and more people pick up their mobile phone to read books, Worldreader will be able to even more deeply refine and expand our library to meet the tastes and needs of our readers, young and old, women and men, students and parents, across the globe.

More than anything, this report demonstrates that people are inherently curious and are choosing books to unlock their potential, driving forward a better future.

Here’s the full list of Worldreader Top Books Read.

Top 10 Books Read by School-Aged Children
1. Molly Moccasin Series – Victoria Ryan O’toole (Urban Fox Studios) – North
2. Beem Explores Africa – Simidele Dosekun (Kachifo) – Africa
3. Kofi in the Dentist’s Chair – T.A Richardson (Afram Publications) – Africa
4. My Big Dada – Kwasi Otopah (Smartline Publishing) – Africa
5. Kofi Has Malaria – Barbara Baddoo (Sam – Woode Ltd) – Africa
6. A Football Match – Asare Konadu Yamoah (Adaex Educational Publications) –
7. There’s a Mouse in the House – Janelle Hooper (self-published) – North
8. All About Me – Pamela Abba Woode (Sam-Woode Ltd) – Africa
9. Tawia Goes to Sea – Meshack Asare (Sub-Saharan) – Africa
10.Who Are We? – Paula Raubenheimer (Big Bug Books) – Africa

Top 3 Health Books
1. 14 Things You Should Know about Sex – (UK National Health Service)
2. Sexual Health: Sex – (Wikibooks)
3. Malaria (Facts for Life) – (UNICEF)

Top 3 Adult Education Books
1. Dictionary of Computer & Information Technology – Mrinal Talukdar (Prabhat
2. Correct English Usage: A Handy Guide to Correct Grammatical Concepts –
Prashant Gupta (Prabhat Prakashan)
3. Enrich Your Vocabulary – Najmussehar (Prabhat Prakashan)

Top 3 Romance Books
1. First Love…Thinking of Him – A.V. Frost (Beaten Track Publishing)
2. Milk and Honey – Roslyn Hardy Holcomb (Self-published)
3. A Love Rekindled – Myne Whitman (Self-published)

Interested in our Worldreader library of digital books? Learn more about our collection of over 28,500 books.