Worldreader.org the "market-based" not-for-profit organization designed to use e-books and e-readers to put "a library of books within reach of every family on the planet," has announced that Random House has agreed to donate thousands of books for an upcoming iREAD pilot. Titles will include such classic works as Peter Pan, The Secret Garden, and Moby Dick, all formatted for e-readers. The donation will also include the entire Magic Tree House collection by Mary Pope Osborne, which Worldreader officials said was “a real favorite” among children in its earlier trial in Ghana.
In addition, Worldreader.org recently announced an agreement with African publishers to digitize thousands of African books. The first titles are now available on Amazon's Kindle store, all for under $5, with all proceeds to be split between the publishers and Worldreader's program to bring e-readers into Ghana. Worldreader officials said the digitization program’s goal is to provide African children with material written by local authors, as to the give the world an “opportunity to drive literacy in Africa, while enjoying the richness of African culture.”
Worldreader.org was founded by former Amazon senior vice president of product and platform development David Risher, with partners Colin McElwee and Mike Sundermeyer, and is currently involved with a second trial in Ghana on the effectiveness of using e-books and e-readers to spread literarcy in poor areas. It will report on its efforts in 2011.