WorldReader, a company that enables people in developing world to access ebooks through their feature phones, has released its statistics for 2015, and Ethiopia is riding high.
With a population of over 90 million people, Ethiopia recorded a readership of 349,389 readers by the end of last year. Nigeria which has over 180 million people, had over 70,000 readers, while South Africa came second with 137,000 readers on the platform.
Opera Software, which owns the mobile browser Opera Mini, has a small reach in Nigeria as compared to Ethiopia. This is the platform that WorldReader rides on to capture readers.
In Ethiopia Opera visibility was extended to 2 million people as opposed to Nigeria. "In Nigeria, Opera promotes WorldReader to half a million users, so we get less users. So even though Nigeria is more populous, we get more support and visibility in Ethiopia," Elizabeth Hensick Wood, Managing Director, WorldReader Europe told ITWeb Africa.
However Nigeria seems to have more engagements with the application. "We are however actively seeking more partners in Nigeria - because we see that Nigerians are super engaged readers. It's interesting to note that our Nigerian users read more pages and spend more time reading than our Ethiopian users," Wood said.
The most read ebook in Ethiopia is Dictionary of Computer and Information Technology by Mrinal Talukdar underlining the use of the platform for educational purposes.
"There is also a growing community of grassroots users in Ethiopia - these are all coming from Ethiopian universities, where professors are spreading the word about WorldReader Mobile," the company said.
In total, over 6 million children, adults and families in the developing world read more than 17 million hours on WorldReader's mobile phone applications and Kindle e-readers in 2015, the company said.
The overall popular books were romance and health books. Others include books on sex and topics that include sports legends.
"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," said David Risher, WorldReader CEO and Co-Founder.