NEW YORK, NY — 14th January 2015: Justo Hidalgo, founder and chief development officer of Madrid-based24symbols digital subscription reading service, has announced today during Digital Book World Conference + Expo that the company is in a partnership with Facebook for its Internet.org programme.
Internet.org is a humanitarian initiative the goal of which is to provide Internet connectivity “to the two-thirds of the world’s population that doesn’t have it,” as its stated mission puts it.
At 2 p.m. today Eastern (7 p.m. GMT), Hidalgo tells The Bookseller, Colombia has become the newest country to enter the Internet.org project. 24symbols is part of the rollout there, as the programme’s purveyor of books. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is in Bogota, holding the third in his series of international town hall events, concurrent with the Internet.org launch there.
A certain portion of the 24symbols library of more than 200,000 titles in 10 languages is being made available through the Internet.org app without charge. Users who would like to upgrade to the service’s typical €9 subscription fee will be able to use the full service, but the crux of the offering today is that it is one of the suite of free services presented by the progamme to users in Colombia. Internet.org has launched previously in Tanzania and in Kenya, and has worked on improving service in Indonesia.
With Google present as the project’s search engine, Wikipedia for encyclopedia, and so on, 24symbols arrives as the project’s purveyor of book services. In each area of the rollout, local services also are brought online to augment such larger offerings as AccuWeather, BBC News, and Wattpad.
“We got in touch with them at Facebook,” says Hidalgo, pictured. “And one thing they didn’t have was a book service.”
In a prepared statement, Chris Daniels, vice president of Internet.org for Facebook said:
Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. Through the Internet.org app we are addressing two major barriers preventing people from getting online; affordability and awareness. Access to a set of free basic internet services can help get more people online and connecting to services they might not have access to otherwise.
In his own comment for the news release, Hidalgo said:
This agreement with Internet.org and Facebook means the coming of age of our start-up. We are excited about this challenge, and it allows us to fulfill a vocation that was at the same origin of our project: to increase the access to reading, and help create new generations of readers worldwide.
By Porter Anderson
The Bookseller: Madrid’s 24symbols partners with Facebook for Internet.org
Read the full post at: TheBookseller.com