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Is Africa Ready For eBooks?

Is Africa poised to get into eBooks? AllAfrica.com has a story this week that raises this question.

Arguing that mobile devices are helping transform communications and banking on the continent, the piece goes on to say, why not eBooks. Here is an excerpt from AllAfrica.com:  “The advantages are clear, if Internet access and bandwidth is available. There are literally millions of books now available free at various sites on the web, and the number is still growing rapidly. And Amazon’s Kindle store has some 750,000 titles, most available at prices well under their paper counterparts.” The article goes on to point out how the coming of Google Editions will mean more free eBooks.

One major issue is the hardware. As the article points out, Kindle does ship to most African countries. However, PCs are still the most common devices to read eBooks on in the United States, which could translate into some African nations. There are also many eReading apps on mobile phones with free eBooks for Africans to access. The article goes on: “If you can’t afford a Kindle, note that Kindle books can be downloaded and read (with a free application) on a PC or a Mac. And for those more at the cutting edge of change than I, and with better eyes, there are even Kindle apps for reading books on your Iphone, Blackberry, or other smartphone.”

What do you think?

Via Publisher’s Weekly.