An update on the use of e-readers in Africa

Michael Trucano, EduTech, Mar 20, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I have always maintained that e-readers (or other digital readers) are better than paper-based texts, even in Africa. I know what it feels like to lug a few hundred (or thousand) books around, and I also know first-hand how quickly a leaking roof will destroy a library. So how are things going with e-readers in Africa? Thus far, theft and power haven't been the major problems. Dust, water and breakage have been. Meanwhile, there remain issues with content (there's free content through Gutenberg, but the Kindle-based WorldReader has mostly been using purchased and commercial content. Perhaps with a more platform-agnostic approach that will change. There's also the issue of working with text-based content in oral cultures - I'd love to see a free MP3 audio archive of community learning created.
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