With its tagline ”creating a world where everyone is a reader”, Worldreader boasts an impressive list of publishing partners in more than 25 countries worldwide in an attempt to reach readers in 45 countries via its digital platform and mobile connectivity. Saide's African Storybook (ASb) Initiative is listed as one of its 18 partners in South Africa in sourcing material for its library of more than 42 000 books. Fatima Rahiman reports.
Worldreader distributes books in two ways: through its free mobile app, and downloaded onto e-readers for use in schools and libraries.
- 293 storybooks from the African Storybook site are available on the World Reader App, the majority (115) being in Kiswahili.
- 35 titles from the African Storybook were selected by users in Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Togo, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Namibia. In the schools and libraries projects, the educators/project coordinators select the titles they want downloaded onto e-readers.In 2016, a total of 44 393 African books were pushed onto devices to be used in schools and libraries in these countries. In January and February 2017, a further 1164 were added.
The two most popular stories are Magozwe and A Tiny Seed, both with more than 7,000 copies pushed to schools and libraries in 2016 and 2017. [A Tiny Seed was originally a Book Dash title].
In 2016, Worldreader experimented with a third way to distribute the storybooks - anthologies.
Four anthologies were created by Worldreader from African Storybook titles and were called:
- People and family
- Early Learning Concepts
These anthologies were made available not only in English, but in Kiswahili and French as well.
Worldreader experimented with releasing the anthologies on Amazon at a price of USD 4.55, but didn’t get very many sales. However, uptake was good through the mobile app. In 2016 the Folktales anthology appeared to be the most popular on the Worldreader App with over 27,000 opens reported in the second half of the year. This was followed by People and Family (with more than 15,000 opens) and Animals (recording 9,000 opens).