Worldreader is a non-profit organisation that distributes e-reading materials to the world. With Ghana becoming more tech-savvy every day, Worldreader decided to grant free e-reading materials to the general public.
Worldreader inked an agreement with electronic commerce giant Amazon and several other African publishers to bring free reading materials to Ghana. The move has been supported by hundreds of African writers.
One of the publishing companies that has backed Worldreader’s move is Random House, which is the largest general-interest paperback publisher in the world. The contribution of their catalog for free is becoming bigger by the minute, with Western literature leading the way. Many of the e-titles available for free in Ghana are familiar titles including Alice in Wonderland, Secret Garden, Moby Dick, Peter Pan, and Sherlock Holmes.
Western literature is extremely popular in Africa thanks to popular media channels that have created TV shows out of classics series and have gone on to grace US and UK TV channels over the last couple of decades. Perhaps one of the most popular novels today not only in Ghana but also the rest of the world is Sherlock Holmes, thanks to the BBC’s revival of the world’s only consulting detective. In Ghana, Sherlock BBC has become extremely popular, with several online news sites like Ghana Nation covering its pre-release episodes. According to Open Ghana, more than 11 million viewers watched Sherlock BBC’s broadcast on New Year’s Day, which is a large number considering that many people were probably out celebrating the turn of the year.
Apart from the reissues of the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books heading to Africa, the gaming world is also honouring the famous detective, making it more attainable to access absolutely everything to do with the famous Scotland Yard detective. UK-based gaming platform Betfair was one of the first to ink an exclusive deal to bring fans the Sherlock Mystery game. Leading on from this, many other Sherlock Holmes-centric memorabilia, games and spin-offs have made the franchise one of the most profitable television shows ever made. But there is no denying amid all the franchise products, that it’s original literature is what laid the foundations for a completely new genre for readers to become engrossed with. And now due to the prevalence of the many series based on the books, bookworms are now accessing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s masterpieces for the first time through amazing platforms such as Worldreader.
“To help create a deep culture of reading, there’s nothing better to get children hooked than a great series books,” said Susan Moody, a spokesperson for Worldreader.
The publishing industry isn’t dead. Thanks to its adoption of e-reading apps, more people can learn and become literate thanks to free content.
Worldreader utilises e-readers, smartphones, and other devices to provide millions of books to more than 53 countries. To date, it has over 45,000 unique book titles, and served over 5 million readers.
The company conducts monitoring and evaluation for impact assessment, and develops reading for out-of-classroom activities. Thanks to the organisation’s efforts, students using its e-reader programs improved 94% in oral reading fluency in just 5 months.
The organisation is headquartered in San Francisco, California. It has satellite offices in Africa, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
About Random House
Random House is part of the Penguin Random House, which is jointly owned by the German-based media conglomerate Bertelsmannm and UK-based publishing company Pearson PLC. Random House started dealing with reference publishing in 1947 with the American College Dictionary, which was followed by its first unabridged dictionary in 1966.
Random House was founded by Americans Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer in 1925. It was only in 1998 when Bertelsmann AG bought Random House and soon, the company went global. In 2012, Bertelsmann entered into discussions with rival conglomerate Pearson plc. about a possible merger. The merger pushed through in July 1, 2013, which meant the company was renamed Penguin Random House.