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Reading in the mobile era: A study of mobile reading in developing countries

Reading in the mobile era exposes18 governments to the idea that digital libraries and mobile reading initiatives may have more impact than traditional, paper-based interventions. 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 current study – by breaking down who reads on mobile devices and for what reasons – is a roadmap for governments, organizations and individuals who wish to help people better leverage mobile technology for reading. Knowing, for instance, that younger people are more likely to read on a mobile device than older people is instructive, as it indicates that older people will likely require significantly more guidance as they discover how to turn a device they may already own into a gateway to text. In essence, the study shines light on a new strategy to bring text to the people who need it most.