Paperight

Paperight turns any business with any printer and an Internet connection into a print-on-demand bookstore. By registering with Paperight for free, copy shops anywhere in the world have access to an online library from which they can legally print out books, magazines and other learning materials for consumers.
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Year launched: 
2012
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CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting

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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, XhosaSotho 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.