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August 8, 2010; Source: Wall Street Journal | One nonprofit, Worldreader, is trying to figure out if digital books are any better at teaching literacy to children in developing countries than their paper and print counterparts.

David Risher, a 45-year-old former Amazon senior vice president and Worldreader’s co-founder, has begun a series of trials in Ghana that involve giving students Amazon.com Kindles to read in school and at home.

Risher told the Wall Street Journal that e-books are well designed for the developing world because they don’t consume much power and they use the universal GSM network. For a population already more accustomed to cell phones than landlines, e-books might be a natural fit for the teaching of literacy.

And with an entire library at your fingertips, the wide selection of books can’t hurt the learning process. “There’s a huge difference between being able to read from a selection of the 10 books that you happen to have — or that somebody donated — versus being able to get your hands on a book that you are really interested in,” says Risher.—Aaron Lester