Barcelona 27 Feb - 2 Mar 2017

Best Mobile Innovation for Education – Worldreader & Opera for Worldreader Mobile

Wendy Smith

Director, Education and Program Design

  1. Why did you enter the Global Mobile Awards?

Worldreader presented its free mobile reading app optimized for inexpensive mobile phones to provide children, families and adults with a library of digital books via devices they already own. The web-based app is designed to work with any browser, especially Opera Mini, that uses extreme compression technology to offer a fast and data-lite reading experience, even in areas with 2G coverage.

We entered the Global Mobile Awards because of its prestige, recognition and because we genuinely think that we have a mobile solution that helps millions not only read and improve their education but also improve their lives.

During the 2016 GLOMO awards, together with Opera, Worldreader was awarded with the Best Mobile Innovation For Education.

  1. How do you think your entry stood out?

The library in the Worldreader app consists of more than 18,000 books across 70 genres and 43 languages.  Between the short period that the web app was launched in April 2015 and in less than a year, Worldreader and Opera had reached over 12 million people, positioning it as the most popular book reading mobile application in Africa (today we refer to the number of people reading instead of people reached, and we currently have over 400,000 monthly readers).

Worldreader is impacting people’s lives in numerous ways. Charles is a teacher and mobile reader in Zimbabwe. He reads to his class from his mobile phone and cites lack of available printed content as his primary reason for reading on his mobile phone. In his own words: “We live in a remote area where there are no libraries, and the books I have in my own small library are the ones which I have already read. So this is now giving me a chance to choose from a variety of fiction titles.”

  1. What advice would you offer to other entrants?

What’s great about the GLOMO awards is that with such an impressive range of categories, they recognize a multitude of strengths among players in the mobile world. So candidates really need to think about what it is that makes them stand out from the crowd and which category and subcategory best speaks to that.

It’s about demonstrating the impact of your app through numbers but also, whenever possible, through individual stories that really illustrate the depth of the impact you’re making.

  1. What benefits has your company had since winning?

Our community of readers keeps getting bigger. Now, we’ve got over 4 million active readers enjoying our library from their mobile phones or on an e-reader, with 340,000 of those people being monthly readers.

In March 2016, we launched the Worldreader Android reading application. This Android application includes personalized recommendations, a reading experience tailored to the target markets, encouragement to read for longer through gamification and an option for audio books through the Read Out Loud feature.

In partnership with Pearson, we also started a 2 year early childhood development program in India. The program, Read to Kids (R2K), will promote reading to children, aged 0-6, by providing high quality Hindi and English books on our mobile reading application and skills building for parents on the importance of reading.