Worldreader provides free access its ebook library of 30,000 titles to over 6 million readers

Worldreader Report Tracks Ebook Downloads in Asia and Africa

In News by Dennis Abrams

What do readers in Africa and Asia really want? A new Worldreader report tracks millions of ebook downloads and reading trends across these regions.

Worldreader LogoBy Dennis Abrams

At the beginning of the month, Worldreader released a report on the top digital books read by children and adults on mobile devices across Asia and Africa in 2015. In total, more than 6 million children, adults and families read more than 17 million hours on their mobile phone apps and Kindle e-readers.

Worldreader is all about making books accessible, especially in places where they have long been inaccessible. And now, thanks to Worldreader, readers anywhere in the world have access to a library of over 28,0000 free books in dozens of languages.

And when, thanks to their mobile phones, they have access to so many free books, what do they do? They read.

While 17 million is extraordinary in and of itself, what is probably even more interesting is learning what people are reading — and why. This is why Worldreader also looked at the top books among children, adults, women, and men. And while some of the numbers matched up with industry trends worldwide, others were more surprising, possibly connected with the kind of devise users are reading on.

Romance is the most popular genre for adults using Worldreader, and in fact, the top 5 books read by men and women are near mirrors of each other. Both lists are filled with romance titles like First Love…Thinking of Him and sexual health guides such as 14 Things You Should Know about Sex.

Worldreader provides free access its ebook library of 30,000 titles to over 6 million readers

Worldreader provides free access its ebook library of 30,000 titles to over 6 million readers

As Worldreader points out, given societal constraints and the idea of what’s appropriate for men to read and what material is considered “not feminine,” it’s interesting to see that men’s and women’s taste as being so closely aligned until you consider this: reading on mobile phone offers a private reading environment – on your device, nobody can see what you read.

And it seems that this new found privacy does alter reading habits and preferences. Which means that men now have the freedom to read romance novels, and women have the same freedom to read sexual health guides. “Sexual harassment” for example, was one of the top search terms for 2015, ranking it at #13.

Reading patterns for children is equally as interesting. Of the top ten books read by children across sub-Saharan Africa, for example, a whopping 80 percent came from local authors and publishers. Children everywhere, it seems, need to see themselves in the story — character, scenery, names and traditions should be relevant to the reader. As a case in point, Kofi has Malaria, an early reader about a Ghanaian boy who contracts malaria and teachers children about the care and prevention for the disease, was one of the top five books.

“People around the world want the same things: we all want to understand the world around us, we want to lead a healthy life, we want to attend good schools and get good jobs and we want to have some fun. Until now, the books that can help us achieve our dreams have been available to only a few. Worldreader is helping create a world where everyone can become a reader,” says Worldreader CEO and Co-Founder, David Risher.

Top 10 Books Read by School-Aged Children

  1. Molly Moccasin Series – Victoria Ryan O’Toole (Urban Fox Studios) – North America
  2. Beem Explores Africa – Simildele Dosekun (Kachifo) – Africa
  3. Kofi in the Dentists’ 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) – Africa
  7. There’s a Mouse in the House – Janelle Hooper (self published) – North America
  8. All About Me – Pamela Abba Woode (Sam-Woode Ltd) – Africa
  9. Tawia Goes to SeaMeshack Asare (Sub-Saharan) – Africa
  10. Who Are We? – Paula Raubenheimer (Big Bug Books) – Africa

Top Books Read by Women

  1. First Love…Thinking of Him – A.V. Frost (Beaten Track Publishing)
  2. Forbidden Fire – Heather Graham – (Open Road Integrated Media)
  3. 14 Things You Should Know About Sex – (UK National Health Service)
  4. The Holy Bible: The King James Edition
  5. Forever My Love – Heather Graham (Open Road Integrated Media)

Top Books Read by Men

  1. 14 Things You Should Know About Sex – (UK National Health Service)
  2. First Love…Thinking of Him – A.V. Frost – (Beaten Track Publishing)
  3. The Holy Bible: The King James Edition
  4. Milk and Honey – Roslyn Hardy Holcomb (Self-published)
  5. Lionel Messi – Sports (Wikipedia for Schools)

Top Books Read in Africa

  1. The Holy Bible: The King James Version
  2. First Love…Thinking of Him – A.V. Frost (Beaten Track Publishing)
  3. Milk and Honey – Roslyn Hardy Holcomb (Self-published)
  4. 14 Things You Should Know About Sex – (UK National Health Service)
  5. Christiano Ronaldo – Sports (Wikipedia for Schools)
  6. Lionel Messi – Sports (Wikipedia for Schools)
  7. A Love Rekindled — Myne Whitman (Self-published)
  8. First, Know What You Want: Why Goals Don’t Work and How to Make Them – Andrew Halfacre (Bookshaker)
  9. There’s Something About Him – Lauri Kubuitsile (Worldreader)
  10. Forever My Love – Heather Graham (Open Road Integrated Media)

To learn more, click here.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.