African eBook Initiative

A new and innovative production and promotion of Ebooks by ICAPA aims is tackling a great challenge for African readers, whose access to literary texts has been very limited for a long time.

Zimbabweans, as most Africans, are reading less and less. And that mostly for one reason: They don’t have books. Either they are much too expensive, or people can’t get the books they would want to read. Basic smartphones offer a new, affordable and easy-to use portal to reading material. And in both urban and rural Africa those phones are spreading at breathtaking speed. This is a chance to change things around because smartphones, tablets and eReaders are transforming a scarce resource into an abundant one. And for a fraction of the cost of a physical book, it is often possible to access the same book via a mobile device.

Physical books cannot be replaced, and the lack of them in Africa is deplorable, but there are ways to make Africans read again. ICAPA has been producing and distributing eBooks since 2013, and developed it's own innovative animated eBook format AnieBook©. And now we are planning to embark on a range of activities to help would-be readers to acknowledge and use this wonderful resource. According to the regulatory authority POTRAZ you'll find 11,9 Million active mobile subscribers in Zimbabwe, a country of 14 Million people, 6.6 Million of those have a mobile internet subscription by Dec 2015, meaning they have a data-capable mobile phone – a “smartphone”.

If every person on the planet understood that his or her mobile phone could be transformed – easily and cheaply – into a library brimming with books, access to text would cease to be such a daunting hurdle to literacy. And we want to start with the people of Zimbabwe. This is a chance to fill a void – the void of inaccessibility of texts to read. Ebook readers are available for free for all major phone operating systems. A wide variety of free EBooks can be made available. All it needs is the initiative to communicate this and to help the distribution. ICAPA plans to take this initiative – with a wide range of measures to communicate this great opportunity as well as to produce and make available texts that will make the difference. Stimulating people to utilize mobile devices as books can prompt a virtuous cycle. A small amount of mobile reading can beget more reading and eventually ensure people ‘have in abundance,’ not only books themselves, but the benefits of strong literacy skills.

Apart from the Ebooks that ICAPA is producing, there is a huge library of literary texts in the public domain, that means they are available for free -legally…Here are some examples: Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen, Twelve Years a Slave – Solomon Northup, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carrol, Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain, Narratives of the Life of an American Slave – Frederick Douglas, Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes -Arthur C. Doyle, Kamasutra of Vatsyayana – Vatsyayana, Grimm's Fairy Tales – Brothers Grimm, Books by Herman Melville, Homer, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, W.E.B Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, Jonathan Swift, Hermann Hesse, Mary Shelley, Honore de Balzac and others.