All Hallow’s Read – Worldreader

by limebirddennis

On 23rd October 2010 Neil Gaiman made A Modest Proposal where he suggested that we needed more traditions related to the giving of books. He proposed that 31st October (All Hallow’s Eve) also be known as All Hallow’s Read; and encouraged people to give gifts of scary books.

Now I have been known to write the odd scary story or two, but I also felt that I wanted to do more than give the odd one or two books to people.

My first thought was to donate my books to South African libraries with e-reader programmes, but my research into how to do this was getting me nowhere. I asked Lauren Beukes for help and she pointed me in the direction of Worldreader.

What I found was an amazing organisation that is working to transform reading in the developing world by making eBooks available to all. Through projects to provide schools with e-readers such as the Kindle and through access to books on older, 2G, mobile phones (this is done through using innovative technology to reproduce the smart phone experience on a 2G phone).

As of September 2013, Worldreader has distributed more than 721,129 digital books in Africa. They have projects in nine countries (as I have lived in 3 of the 9 and worked in 2 more, I felt that this was the perfect way for me to continue supporting education there). Apart from the projects where e-readers are distributed, more than half a million people in over 130 countries are reading a wide variety of books on their mobile phones. Currently there are a total of 534,000 readers per month, reading 9.5 million pages per month (equivalent to 17,000 200 page books read per month).

Also, as a volunteer in the 1980s, I am very familiar with books such as Where There Is No Doctor, so I was interested to see that Worldreader is working to bring vital health information to mobile phone users around the world.

The programme is founded upon strong research and English tests have been carried out in Ghana with children that have access to e-books and those with no access; it has been found that one year of involvement in the Worldreader programme is equivalent to about two years of regular schooling (for girls, it is equivalent to about five years of regular schooling).

If that doesn’t convince you, you can find out more about Worldreader, read inspiring stories, and see how you can help at

I got in touch with Worldreader and I’m pleased to say that my four books will be made available free to readers who, until recently, had no access to books.

So, what are you going to do for All Hallows’ Read?

Authors or publishers who would like more information on donating books can check out this page.

And, for those of you who would like to help in other ways, please don’t forget to check out the Worldreader site

Happy reading (for ALL!)


12 Comments to “All Hallow’s Read – Worldreader”

  1. Oh I love this so much Dennis! This sounds like such a great thing!

  2. What a wonderful idea, I had not even thought of books and I have a lot of them! Local women’s shelters, children’s homes and nursing homes can use books too – paper, ebook or whatever kind. I usually pack up my extras and donate them to the public library but there are other uses too, thanks!

    • Donating your books to shelters and children’s homes sounds like a great idea too. There are so many people who don’t have access to books…

  3. This is a wonderful idea—thank you for sharing! And I really enjoyed my read of “The King’s Jewel.” 🙂

  4. Great story, Dennis. A friend of mine who works in higher ed oversees the IP deployment at their sister school in Ghana. I will have to mention this to him, especially as the dissemination of information and education is so important to the technological drive of these institutions.

  5. What a great programme, and how wonderful that you have become involved like this. I’ll look into it more later.

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