MXit has launched Africa's first instant messaging book in what it says is a bid to encourage literacy and a love of reading among youth. The book will cost a fraction of what readers would pay in "traditional" bookstores.
From today, MXit users will be able to download an entire book on the MXit network for just R13.50 – or 50 Moola per chapter.
Juan du Toit, international marketing manager for MXit, says: "This is a very exciting project for us because it allows us to add online reading to the already broad online social networking and chatting model that encompasses the MXit lifestyle offering.
"As MXit is so widely used by the youth as their preferred communication tool, we hope to encourage the youth to develop a love of reading. We will therefore look to provide our users with more titles in the future."
With the advent of mobile media as a primary means of communication for social interaction and information sourcing, it made sense for MXit to expand its content offering to include literature, he adds.
According to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), 26% of the world's adult population is illiterate and 98% of these people live in developing countries. Africa as a continent has a literacy rate of less than 60%.
The first book offered on MXit's MBooks platform is "Emily and the Battle of the Veil", a fantasy novel about a 13-year old South African girl written by Karen Brooks. It can be downloaded on MXit by visiting Tradepost and read at the user's own time and convenience.