Matrics: get exam practice more cheaply, more easily

If you’re in matric, or have a child in matric, you’re getting nervous about exams. We’d like to help:

1. Zero licence fees on past-exam packs. This means Paperight outlets can now print and sell past exam papers from 2008 to 2012 without paying us a cent. This will mean cheaper exam practice, and no need to buy credits before downloading.

2. Order by email. Find the exam pack you want, pick your nearest and cheapest outlet, and click the ‘Order by email’ button. That will launch an email message in your default email program, prefilled with that product’s details. Just hit send and the outlet will get your request by email.

'Order by email' button screenshot
Click ‘Order by email’ to open a pre-filled email message to the outlet

Good luck to all matrics! If you have any questions, email us or find us on Facebook.

Paperight welcomes Open Book Publishers

Peace and Democratic SocietyOpen Book Publishers are reinventing academic publishing, making it fairer, faster and more accessible. Their ideals are our ideals, so we’re thrilled to be working with them.

You can now get their wonderful books from any Paperight outlet, including Peace and Democratic Society, edited by Nobel Prizewinning economist Amartya Sen.

Click here to see the full list.

The+Shining+Girls

200 top South African books hit Paperight

The+Shining+GirlsWhen I set out to build Paperight, I imagined having best-selling, new South African fiction and non-fiction in our library, so that South Africans everywhere could get their hands on it.

Even though it took several years to get there, I’m ecstatic that we’ve just released over 200 books from leading publisher Random House Struik, including showstoppers like The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, Apocalypse Now Now by Charlie Human, and Of Cops and Robbers by Mike Nicol. There’s loads more, have a look here.

As I write this, I’m sitting at the Franschhoek Literary Festival, a highlight of the South African literary year. An underlying – and often openly expressed – anxiety at the festival is our industry’s dependence on perhaps two million wealthy book buyers, who buy their books from glitzy stores in suburban malls. By working with Paperight, the team at Random House Struik have taken an important step towards real change. We sincerely hope others will follow in their footsteps.

Talented, young designers showcased in our cover art competition

As this year’s World Design Capital, Cape Town has been painted yellow. Designers and creatives around the city have been showcasing their transformative design work. As a WDC-aligned project, we wanted to inspire talented young creators around the city to try their hand as book cover designers. We launched a Cover Art Competition, and were not disappointed. The winner’s covers will be used as the official cover art for the Paperight editions of classic literature books, with the designers’ names appearing on the imprint pages. These will be available for sale from over 200 Paperight registered copy shops across South Africa. CAC_NeillKropman_3bookcovers_reduced_20140404 Neill Kropman’s gorgeous water-themed cover set came in 1st Place. He hails from Red and Yellow School of Logic and Magic, and submitted three cover designs that work together as a conceptual triptych. According to Neill, his concept stemmed from the following: “Each story tells a tale of travelling via water. I chose to connect all three books by this idea. A river flows from the first book (Huckleberry Finn) through the series, into Heart of Darkness and finally resolving into Robinson Crusoe.” The runner-ups are: 2nd Place: Lucelle van der Linde (Stellenbosch University) for To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf 3rd Place: Ivan de Villiers (Stellenbosch University) for Walden by Henry David Thoreau Congratulations to you all! We will be in contact with you soon about your prizes. For more images, scroll down. huckleberry-finn_kropman_cover_20140513 heart-of-darkness_kropman_cover_20140513 robinson-crusoe_kropman_cover_20140513to-the-lighthouse_lucelleVDL_full-wrap-cover_20140513 (1) walden_Ivandevilliers_full-wrap-cover_20140513 walden_devilliers_cover_20140513 to-the-lighthouse_lucelleVDL_cover_20140513

The #textbookrevolution hits Twitter!

 

"Twitter" by Flickr user Andreas Eldh. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Licence
“Twitter” by Flickr user Andreas Eldh. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Licence

Over the first two weeks of March 2014, Paperight hosted two LIVE Twitter debates for students, publishers, teachers, lecturers, booksellers and all interested parties to share their views on the subject of textbook availability and high prices. With the help of Kelsey Wiens and Eve Gray from UCT, the #textbookrevolution gathered a fantastic cross section of opinions and criticisms to help us move the campaign forward.

Our first debate, held on the 6th of March 2014, attracted mainly industry players who steered the debate towards how prices can be cut and what restraints exist that are preventing this becoming common practice. We also welcomed teachers, a smattering of students and a variety of student welfare organisations to the mix. The following points were raised and debated:

  • The need for more SA academics to chip in and write textbooks for their students rather than relying on expensive foreign equivalents
  • When SA lecturers write textbooks, there is a tendency to prescribe the same textbook even long after it is out of date which needs to be addressed
  • Digital or paper resources? On this point, the opinions were equally divided with most conceding to fall into the middle ground that both need to exist to be most effective
  • The high cost of the supply chain (printing, storage, transport and waste)
  • How students manage when they can’t afford to buy their prescribed textbooks

The success of the first debate necessitated a second one, held on the 13th of March 2014. This time around we pushed for more students to take part and we were not disappointed! Particularly by University of Pretoria students who chipped in en masse to share their personal experiences of buying their textbooks. The Tuks SRC started the debate with a bang sharing a photo of a textbook that costs R1035.95 and asking students to comment – shew! What a kicker to get students talking about downloading .pdf’s of textbooks, paying extortionate prices, sharing textbooks with friends, dealing with library short loans and even relying on student loans that don’t actually cover the cost of their textbooks. Even Van Schaik’s weighed in to explain the bookseller/publisher side to the students. Having them involved kept the debate moving along, and meant that the results are multi-faceted and really illuminating.

Tweets flew in thick and fast over the hour of the debate – so fast in fact that we struggled to keep up and even managed to get the hashtag #textbookrevolution to trend in South Africa! Amid all the tweets about Oscar Pistorius, South Africans were also debating a better future for school and university students. This is not the last of the #textbookrevolution. You can get involved too: simply log into Twitter, search for the #textbookrevolution, and have your say.

So keep tweeting about it, share the petition and sow the seeds of debate among those you know because every #textbookrevolution supporter carries this campaign even closer to success. As a collective of individuals eager for a better option, we can help countless future South Africans achieve their full potential. Viva la #textbookrevolution!

The #textbookrevolution hits UCT!

As the third week of Paperight’s #textbookrevolution draws to a close, we have a lot to be proud of, and a lot of people to thank. All in all, we managed to gather over 400 signatures from Stellenbosch University students and over 600 signatures from students from the University of Cape Town – that’s over 1000 students who love what Paperight is doing for them.

On Monday 17 February, the Paperight team visited UCT’s Upper Campus to speak to students about the campaign. We had a lot of smiles and thumbs up. We handed out #textbookrevolution drinks coasters and found out what cheaper textbooks would really mean to students.

Overwhelmingly, students insisted that they would buy all their textbooks if they could only afford them. Most students get by with either borrowing from friends who have the book they need, or by photocopying sections that they need at different intervals of the year. Some buy second-hand books – if the previous year’s edition is still prescribed, that is. And who can blame them when the prices are so high? We spoke to a 5th year medical student who has to buy a R2800 textbook, and a future chemical engineer who will be forced to fork out R3000 for one of her 6 prescribed textbooks for their first semester alone.

It’s helped us to hear that students agree with the #textbookrevolution campaign, and acutely feel the problems it hopes to solve. Students are desperate for some kind of alternative.

Of course, not all the feedback was positive off the bat. Some students expressed a concern for the future of bookshops – we were happy to explain to them that bookstores have nothing to fear from Paperight. (Bookstores can use Paperight too!) Similarly, some Law students were curious about the legality of the Paperight model – in the end they were convinced by the simplicity of the idea.

In the end, everybody wins with Paperight. More supporters are joining the ranks of the #textbookrevolution every day. But don’t just take our word for it! Watch our campaign video to see for yourself.

Put an end to unaffordable textbooks. Join the #textbookrevolution. Show your support by liking us on Facebook and Twitter, signing our petition, and using the #textbookrevolution hashtag.

Paperight loves SHAWCO

Students, lecturers, university administrators, media outlets and publishers are all getting on board with the #textbookrevolution. We’re thrilled to announce that SHAWCO from the University of Cape Town is one of our most recent converts.

SHAWCO is one of the country’s largest student volunteer organisations. They run health and welfare projects across low-income areas in Cape Town – and we’re thrilled to be associated with such a wonderful organisation. SHAWCO have lent their logo to our cause by putting it on the #textbookrevolution website. They’ve also partnered with us to put an impressive splash page on the home page of Vula, UCT’s main student web portal.

We have a growing supporters bar on the #textbookrevolution website and every company, institution or organisation that joins us brings the entire campaign one step closer to making our aim a reality. If you would like to add your logo to the list, click hereYour support can make a huge difference.

Have you signed our online petition yet? If not, do it here. Leave a comment too so that we know what this campaign really means to you.

The #textbookrevolution hits Stellenbosch!

Two #textbookrevolution supporters get their hands on great T-shirts!

Paperight has officially launched the #textbookrevolution and supporters are flying in thick and fast. We now have #textbookrevolution partner copy shops across 10 universities in South Africa – and this is only the beginning. Publishers, students and lecturers have also been coming on board, joining an initiative that intends to blow apart the existing monopolies that drive textbook prices sky high.

This week the Paperight team took the long drive out to Stellenbosch to chat to students face-to-face and hear their concerns. Sporting #textbookrevolution t-shirts, we hooked them with a batch of limited edition Paperight drinks coasters emblazoned with the tagline “Cheaper Textbooks. More Beer”. Then we got down to business. We asked them to sign a petition calling for publishers to give them a cheap and legal alternative to buy their set works. Students, many of whom were on bursaries, were enthusiastic with the prospect of saving cash for other important expenses. One student we spoke to said that she had a textbook that cost her R1300 and another lamented the fact that she had to buy 8 books for her final year of Law; none of them cost less than R900.

As we walked around town we had students coming up to us as their friends had told them what we’re up to and we heard snatches of enthusiastic conversations about “those textbook revolution guys”. The #textbookrevolution hashtag has propagated across Facebook and Twitter with energetic commentary. It seems a no-brainer that students would love the idea and now we are well on our way to gathering the testimonies, signatures and demand that will help us initiate a significant change on their behalf.

Do you love the #textbookrevolution? Then join us! It’s as easy as doing any of the following:

  • Share the #textbookrevolution video (see www.textbookrevolution.co.za)

  • Publish the #textbookrevolution manifesto in your varsity newspaper or speak about the it on your varsity radio.

  • Ask your lecturers why your textbooks aren’t available on Paperight – they can influence the publishers.

  • Sign the #textbookrevolution petition on the campaign website.

  • Send us your logo to be added to our supporters’ bar on the campaign website.

If you want a cool #textbookrevolution poster to stick up at your school, residence, outlet or anywhere, get in touch with us at team@paperight.com.

Getting to know CAPS

The lowdown on CAPSStarting this year, public schools and some private schools in South Africa have fully switched to the CAPS curriculum, with the first batch of CAPS-educated learners matriculating at the end of the 2014 school year.

With all of the changes to the South African national curriculum in the past decade or so, CAPS might seem like just another confusing acronym for parents and teachers to remember, and another annoying policy shift that requires everyone to buy new textbooks and start over. CAPS really isn’t that complicated, though, but it’s important to understand what it’s all about.

CAPS stands for Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements. Simply, it is a revision of the current National Curriculum Statement (NCS), and introduces more streamlined and comprehensive sets of guidelines and assessment criteria for each subject in each grade. The purpose of this is to make teachers’ jobs easier, giving them clear guidance on what to do. It also makes learners’ lives easier, by establishing clearly what it is they are to learn in fine detail and how their work will be assessed.

Overcomplicated terminology is also out the window, making it so much easier for parents, guardians and learners themselves to understand exactly what they’re doing: for example, the old terms “Learning Outcomes” and “Assessment Standards” are done away with, and have been replaced with “Content” and “Skills”. Even better, primary school learners will no longer study “Literacy” and “Numeracy”; they will now do “Language” and “Mathematics” instead.

The upshot of all this – the new terminology, the week-by-week planning for classrooms to follow – is that everyone needs new textbooks that are completely aligned with the new curriculum. Luckily, Paperight has a great selection of CAPS textbooks available at any of our outlets nationwide.

X-kit Achieve!

The X-Kit Achieve! series from Pearson has been developed based on meticulous research and feedback from learners and teachers. These study guides offer exercises which cover understanding, application and problem-solving skills. They also include concise explanations, plenty of practice and sample test and exam papers with answers. Available for Grade 10 and Grade 11 students.

Study & Master Study Guides

Cambridge University Press’s Study & Master series have been specially developed by experienced author teams to meet all the requirements of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS). These new and easy-to-use courses not only help learners to master essential content and skills, but also gives them the best possible foundation on which to build their knowledge in each subject. Guides for seven subjects are available through Paperight for Grade 12 students.

Everything Maths

Siyavula’s Everything Maths textbook for Grade 10 students is not just a Mathematics textbook. It has everything you expect from your regular printed school textbook, but also comes with online video lessons and explanations which help bring concepts to life. Summary presentations at the end of every chapter offer an overview of the content covered, with key points highlighted for easy revision. All the exercises inside the book link to a service where you can get more practice, see the full solution or test your skills level on mobile and PC.

It’s time for a #textbookrevolution

This week we kick off the #textbookrevolution, a movement to end the high cost of textbooks. Here is the #textbookrevolution manifesto in 75 seconds.

The #textbookrevolution manifesto

At South African universities, less than half of students buy textbooks.
They are too often expensive, out of stock, hard to find, and longer than necessary.
This must change.
The culprit? The supply chain: printing + shipping + warehousing + wastage + retail = 70% of the price.
That’s crazy. There is a better way.
Textbooks can be printed on demand in any copy shop quickly and legally.
Legal copy-shop printouts cut textbook prices by up to 40%.
And publishers and authors still get paid the same.
This could save R1000 for every student in South Africa.
That’s a billion rand every year to spend on more important things, like food and housing.
It’s time for a #textbookrevolution.
Lecturers and authors: Insist that publishers put textbooks on Paperight.
Universities: scrap monopolies for campus bookstores.
Students: spread the word.
#textbookrevolution

 

The thinking behind the #textbookrevolution

There are a million university students in South Africa. Their textbooks are very expensive, because the supply chain for textbooks is bloated: it accounts for 70% of the retail price of most paper textbooks. (I include printing in the supply chain, since a publisher’s primary output is a print-ready PDF: everything after that is the supply chain.)

In theory, ebooks would solve this problem, but ebooks present many challenges of their own, including high setup costs, poor reader software, clumsy DRM, the need to buy with a credit card, and device and data costs. Many students simply prefer paper.

Paperight shortens the supply chain by replacing traditional retail, printing, shipping, warehousing and wastage with a simple copy-shop print-out. This could save most students up to 40% off their textbook bill – that’s thousands of rands every year per student.

Here’s an example using an 800-page crown-format textbook that normally sells for R500. Traditionally:

  • The retailer, printer, shipping companies, warehousing, and wastage provisions eat up about R350.
  • The traditional supply chain pays the publisher about R150, which covers all their costs and the author’s royalties.

On Paperight:

  • The copy shop pays a licence fee of, say, R200. The publisher earns R160 after Paperight’s 20% commission.
  • The copy shop prints out and ring-binds the book, shrunk imperceptibly and placed two-up on 200 double-sided sheets, for R120.
  • The copy shop charges the student the total, R320, saving them R180 (36%).

There are never stock shortages, these ring-bound books lie flat while studying, and they’re often easier to mark up with notes and highlights.

In the end, our message is simple: it’s time for a #textbookrevolution: textbooks don’t need a bloated supply chain – they can and should be cheaper. That revolution starts with Paperight.

What are some real student examples?

Yazeed Peters works full-time and is studying part-time through UNISA. He’s studying economics, accounting, customer service and marketing. He needs six textbooks that together cost at least R2240. If they were available from Paperight outlets, he’d pay only R1310, and save R930 – a saving of over 40%.

Tshegofatso Masha is studying first-year civil engineering at UCT. He’ll do twenty courses this year, for which he needs to buy 7 textbooks. In a store, he’d pay about R7175 for these. If they were available on Paperight, he’d pay R5126, saving R2049 – 29%. And that includes the cost of printing out a 1000-page, full-colour, A4 textbook. With Paperight, he’d only have to print what he needed from it, saving even more money.

Philippa Dewey is studying final-year law at UCT. The seven books she’s prescribed would cost R4300 normally. From Paperight outlets they would cost her only R2500. She’d save R1800, 42% of her textbook bill.

In every case here, the publisher still earns the equivalent of 30% of the retail price of the traditional book, which for many publishers matches current gross margins including equivalent royalties in rand terms.

How does Paperight work in stores?

A student walks into a copy shop, asks for a textbook, and the copy shop prints and ring-binds it within hours or even minutes. Every page includes the names of the student, copy shop, and publisher, and the date of purchase.

How is this possible? We work with publishers to provide an online library of books that copy shops can legally print out. For each print-out, they pay a licence fee from a pre-paid account. The copy shop makes money from the printing.

Publishers can set their licence fees to make the same gross margin they’ve always made (about 30% of the retail price for most publishers). Paperight gets a 20% commission on the licence fees.

So, by replacing traditional printing, warehousing, shipping, wastage and retail with a simple copy-shop print-out, we can reduce final cost of a textbook by 40%, with no loss to the publisher.

This is nothing short of a revolution in textbook delivery, dramatically reducing the overall cost of tertiary education.

If, starting today, we could save every university student in South Africa R1000 a year, then at current inflation and enrolment-growth rates, by 2030 we’d have saved them a total of R52 billion.

What are our challenges?

To make this saving a reality, we are up against four key challenges.

Publishers mistrust copy shops after years of rampant piracy. Even though Paperight distribution is logically better than having your books photocopied anonymously, publishers struggle to overcome their long-standing unease. As a result, they are reluctant to put core textbooks on Paperight.

Copy shops have to learn new tricks, especially how to promote books. They also have to train their staff members on how to use paperight.com. We do broad PR and provide promotional materials and support, but ultimately they have to do the local legwork.

University bookshops have exclusivity on campus. Usually, only one retailer is allowed to sell textbooks on campus – potentially preventing copy shops on campus from selling Paperight print-outs. In theory, this secured market should help bookstores give better service to students. In practice, it creates a sheltered monopoly with no competition effects.

Lecturers don’t enjoy changing the books they prescribe. But to make textbooks much cheaper for their students – to improve purchase rates and student performance – they need to choose books that are on Paperight, or pressure publishers into putting their books on Paperight. Lecturers are the most powerful customers in the textbook industry.

What are we asking of people?

Each player in the textbook ecosystem has a part to play in the #textbookrevolution.

Lecturers who prescribe books are the most influential people in publishing – they have tremendous power to change things for the better. We want them to ask publishers to sell their prescribed books through Paperight, too.

Students are at the heart of the #textbookrevolution, it matters to them more than anyone. So we’re asking them to spread the word that there’s a better way.

University administrators can grease the wheels by getting campus copy shops and book shops to join Paperight; they can distribute tutorials through our network; and use their mailing lists to tell people about the #textbookrevolution.

Authors want more people to read their books for less (while still earning royalties). We want them to ask you, as publishers, to sell their books through Paperight, too. (We also offer publishers and published authors telephonic advice on structuring royalties for Paperight sales.)

The big picture

The #textbookrevolution is bigger than Paperight: there are many other ways that publishing can reduce its bloated supply chain to cut the cost of tertiary education. That’s why we’re not calling this the #paperightrevolution. We just want to play our part, alongside others, in getting more students through university well-educated.

We’re deeply grateful to the publishers and copy shops that have already joined the #textbookrevolution, even though many have only taken baby steps so far.

We need many, many more allies to make this a reality. Please spread the word: it’s time for a #textbookrevolution.