As the world’s knowledge migrates online into ebooks and websites, the gap between Internet haves and Internet have-nots is getting wider. That gap is becoming an education gap, an economic gap, and a healthcare gap. By using existing technology and infrastructure, Paperight transforms any copy shop with Internet and a printer into a legal, print-on-demand bookstore. The goal is to put every book within walking distance of every home in South Africa. Ultimately, Paperight seeks to extend its services to other regions across Africa and the world.
The Paperight Model | In order to print and distribute Paperight products, copy shops register on paperight.com and top up a prepaid account for as little as $2. Registered copy shops have access to Paperight's online library which includes over 2,000 books, textbooks, teaching aids, magazines, and other learning materials. When a walk-in customer asks for a book, copy shops download it from paperight.com to print, and Paperight deducts a small license fee from their account. 80% of this fee goes to publishers and 20% goes to Paperight. This innovative online platform was developed in-house and is open-sourced so that interested parties are able to replicate the Paperight model.
Textbook Revolution Campaign | By shortening the traditional textbook supply chain, Paperight can save university students up to 40% off of their textbook bill. In early 2014, Paperight launched the #textbookrevolution campaign to bring affordable learning materials to the forefront of university financing discussions and to better inform universities about the cost-effective Paperight model. Through social media, in-store marketing via 15 selected copy shops, and promotional events at universities, #textbookrevolution seeks to get students, lecturers, and authors to sign its petition demanding that publishers put their textbooks on Paperight and that universities stop monopolizing textbook sales through campus bookstores. Currently, the petition has reached over 1,000 signatures.
Paperight Young Writers' Anthology | Paperight leverages technology not only to increase students' access to learning materials, but also to generate them. The first Paperight Young Writers' Anthology was launched in 2013 as a compilation of the very best work from thousands of submissions by South African high school learners – in English, Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho and Afrikaans. It was conceived as a way to spark a culture of writing in South Africa and to celebrate a new generation of South African writers and artists. The Anthology highlights a broad spectrum of pieces ranging from poems and short stories to essays and illustrations.
Already Paperight has been commended by a number of major organizations. For instance, it has received two international publishing-industry awards and was congratulated by the South African National Parliament who publicly encouraged all publishers “to register with Paperight in making their works accessible to all."
As of December 2014, Paperight is no longer in operation. Some of the key challenges it faced in remaining financially sustainable included a lack of buy-in from large educational publishers, as well as issues with copy shops.
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To ensure that Paperight outlets exist in low-income areas, Paperight employs a comprehensive marketing strategy utilizing social media, print advertising, and local media outlets such as radio to encourage copy shops to register with the site. Paperight provides instructional materials to all shops and on-ground support to those that struggle with implentation of the model.
Distrbutors | 200 copy shops across South Africa
Online Library | 2,000 books - approximately 1/3 are public domain classics, 1/3 are open licensed learning materials created in-house or by partners, and 1/3 are proprietary learning materials (textbooks or study guides) created by partners
As of April 2014, Paperight has expanded its network to include 200 copy shops across South Africa that print and distribute content from its online library housing over 2,000 books from over 150 unique publishers.
Regional Expansion | In the near future, Paperight plans to continue to promote its services in South Africa and to actively develop and invest in a small group of carefully selected copy shops as "bookstores of the future." Paperight's broader goal is regional, and ultimately global expansion so that their model embeds print-on-demand book-buying in people’s everyday behavior. Six countries, not including South Africa, have already expressed interest in adopting the Paperight model.
University Partnerships | Currently, Paperight is in communication with three Cape Town Unviersitites - The University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape, and Stellenbosch University. In the future, Paperight hopes to develop formal partnerships with these institutions in order to run pilots or trials of the Paperight model in campus bookstores. Within the next five to ten years, Paperight hopes that these partnerships will facilitate the roll-up of all learning material and textbook fees into university tuition costs.
"Historically, it's been impossible for universities to buy textbooks for students because they can't predict what students are going to register for. With Paperight, you don't have to predict what students are registering for, you can actually print their textbooks the same day they enroll in the course."
- Arthur Attwell, Paperight Founder and CEO
Monitoring & Evaluation
Currently, Paperight has not developed a formal strategy to monitor and evaluate the impact of its learning materials on student performance. However, the following indicators are tracked in order to measure the demand for Paperight's services:
Book Sales | Paperight measures the number of its books that are printed and distributed by copy shops
Copy Shops | Paperight tracks the number of copy shops that register with paperight.com
Publishers | Paperight tracks the number of publishers that provide content for its online library