Business | Technology

eBooks become the ideal solution

Mobile connectivity can drive ebooks even in remote regions

  • By Zaher Bitar, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 17:36 November 13, 2012
  • Gulf News

Dubai: While there is a strong debate for replacing the traditional book with an electronic one, Colin McElwee, Co-founder of the non-profit organisation, Worldreader: Books for All, said that eBook is more efficient and less costly to be provided in the rural areas.

Speaking to Gulf News on the sideline of the Summit on Global Agenda, McElwee said: “Where there is no book, ebook is an ideal solution.”

While there are a huge number of children who lack education in Africa and Latin America, eBook was found to be a good option to enhance education in these rural areas.”

Books for All is an initiative that allows children in the rural areas to access education using the ebook.

“Out of the seven billion world population there are around one billion children left without education.”

Books for all is only two years old, and currently operates in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Despite the fact that residents of these areas are living at the bottom of the poverty line and lacking the proper eco-system for e-learning, the use of ebook is still an affordable option, McElwee said.

“You will be shocked visiting these areas to find people using mobile phone. In Kenya, mobile connectivity is high, making the adoption of ebook an easy option there.”

“The summit discussion will be very supportive and helpful to send a clear message to the wide range of participants, thought leaders and experts as well as to share the best practices in this field.”

During the pilot stage of Books for All project, 10,000 ebooks were distributed, supported by private sector, social aid organisations and governments.

“The ebook reader is available in four languages — English, French, Swahili and Rwandan — at a cost of $70 but we are working to reduce the device price to $20.’

However, he added that far from the device price the cost of ebook doesn’t exceed a dollar while the paper book costs $5.

Through the Dubai discussion, McElwee wants to seek support this efficient method of learning and make education accessible for all in the rural eras of the globe.

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