Worldreader.org is a nonprofit organization that provides e-book readers such as the Kindle for children in poorer areas who have limited access to books and libraries. Their first trial took place in Barcelona, Spain, and they are currently conducting another trial in Ghana. Follow their blog for recent updates and testimonies by the children who received Kindles. According to their website, Worldreader.org “is a US- and Barcelona-based not-for-profit organization founded by Colin McElwee, ex-Director of Marketing of ESADE Business School, and David Risher, a former executive at Amazon.com and Microsoft Corporation.” It is certainly a plus to have an Amazon.com former employee on board.
Providing the Kindle for children in Spain, Ghana, and any future locations opens up a whole new world for reading. Providing books in print makes a small dent in crossing literacy barriers, but often leads to a limited selection because books take up so much space. The Kindle is the size of one book, but provides access to many, many books. Amazon’s Kindle store currently carries 450,000 books, many of which are free. The Kindle is a reader’s treasure trove right at your fingertips.
The cost is a factor, but Amazon donated ten Kindles to Worldreader.org to start their project. The organization currently purchases the Kindles with local government and donated money. With the e-reader competition heating up, the price of the Kindle will surely drop significantly. Once that happens, there is great potential for organizations like Worldreader.org to take literacy via the Kindle to many more areas that otherwise would not have a chance at breaking down literacy barriers.