Amazon announced on Wednesday that it would be donating units of Kindle e-reader, Fire tablets, and Kindle eBooks globally in an effort to help expand the readership of digital books beyond the Western world.
Amazon’s digital e-reader, the Kindle, has been one of the company’s most successful hardware devices sold to date.
While it appears to be a philanthropic effort, the benefit for Amazon is to gain more loyal customers for its e-reading service. Through a collaboration with non-profit Worldreader, Amazon is donating thousands of its e-readers for reading programs in developing countries, including an existing program in Kenya.
“Our vision has always been to make every book in the world available to our customers in less than 60 seconds but with this vision, we recognize that not everyone has access to the books they want or need,” said Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices and services, in a statement.
This isn’t the first initiative from Amazon to donate Kindles.
Amazon has also donated thousands of Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets to schools and libraries, particularly ones located near its fulfillment centers. The e-commerce giant is also expanding donations to hospitals and nonprofits, such as the Seattle Children’s Hospital, Mary’s Place, Rainier Scholars, and Well Spring Family Services.
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Apple offers a similar program, and through President Obama’s 2014 ConnectED initiative, the iPhone maker pledged to donate iPad tablets to students at 114 schools across the United States.