Reading in the Mobile Era

A Study of Mobile Reading in Developing Countries

For centuries, limited access to text has been a barrier to literacy. Reading requires books. Without them literacy remains out of reach. Today, however, this barrier is receding thanks to the spread of inexpensive mobile technology. Basic mobile phones offer a new, affordable and easy-touse portal to reading material.

While UNESCO research indicates that hundreds of thousands of people in countries like Ethiopia, Nigeria and Pakistan are reading on mobile devices, very little is known about these readers. This information gap hampers efforts to expand the footprint of mobile reading and realize the educational and socio-economic benefits associated with increased reading. Drawing on findings from a year-long study, this report explains the habits, preferences and demographic profiles of mobile readers in seven developing countries. By painting a picture of how mobile reading is practiced today and by whom, it offers insights into how mobile technology can be leveraged to better facilitate reading in countries where literacy rates are low.

The report was created through an ongoing partnership between UNESCO, Nokia and Worldreader and is part of a two-paper series on mobile reading. The other complementary publication, Reading without Books, reviews mobile reading initiatives around the world, identifying their strengths and weaknesses in order to steer the development of future projects. Cumulatively, the two publications explain how mobile technology can empower readers and further literacy in developing countries and beyond.

Surveys & Reports
Wednesday, January 1, 2014 (All day)
Mark West, Han Ei Chew
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