The good folks at the SAB Foundation very generously awarded Paperight with a R100 000 seed grant at the second annual SAB Innovation Awards. In a glamourous award ceremony in Sandton on the 1st of November, attended by many of South Africa’s top entrepreneurs and investors; a veritable mix of glamour and business, millions of rands of funding were handed over to some of South Africa’s most innovative ideasmiths – and us.
Not that we knew that, though. Typically, we were too caught up with our work and various other business-y commitments to attend the ceremony, and typically we only found out we had beat out over 180 other entrants and won this amazing grant a few days after the fact.
So, thank you to the SAB Foundation for believing in our mission to put every book within walking distance of every home, and thank you to Cyril Ramaphosa for slathering his name all over the beautiful new certificate we now have hanging up in our office.
If you’re an entrepreneur with a great idea, you should definitely think about entering next year’s awards! You can read about our experiences at the second round adjudication here, and check out more information about the SAB Foundation and the Innovation Awards here.
Paperight was fortunate enough to be invited to appear on SABC2’s Hectic Nine-9 – probably South Africa’s biggest youth TV show – on Tuesday afternoon.
After what felt like hours waiting in the green room, I went live on-air to talk about Paperight, and about how young people can develop their own entrepreneurial ideas and get them funded. (Did you know that South Africa underspends by roughly R2 billion a year on enterprise development? You can tap that money, but most of us just don’t know how to do that.)
The segment was only 5 minutes long – such is the nature of broadcasting. But those 5 minutes turned out to be remarkably potent: Paperight broke its record for daily visits to the site in the hour after Hn9 aired, and we got a few big handfuls of new registrations from curious teens. (Hopefully we’ve got a few budding entrepreneurs into the mix!)
As for the rest of the show, it was jam-packed with talented youngsters, including 13-year-old guitarist Mujahied and rap group A-KRW, all aiming to inspire young people to take control of their lives, explore their talents and fulfil their ambitions. (And log onto Facebook and attempt to eke out an on-air shout-out from the hosts. Teenagers are such attention-seekers.)
So, to the Hn9 crew – to David, Nastasha & Nick – thank you very much for having us! We really appreciate the exposure and hospitality, and it was really fun being on-set. We hope the rest of your 5th birthday celebrations go well and your show goes from strength to strength.
Our Open Book Reflections series concludes today with a short essay on the future of the book from our mastermind Content Manager and resident social anthropologist Tarryn-Anne Anderson.
The Open Book Festival panel on “The Future of the Book” was a speculative, crystal-ball gazing affair which brought to mind the words of that great master of the force, Yoda: “Careful you must be when sensing the future, Anakin. The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.” Yoda’s caution is particularly fitting given that its theme of loss was one that also seemed to set the tone for the conversation.
Continue reading Open Book Reflections: So where is the book heading, after all?
With every panel held on the future of print media or the book, our visions of the future for the book get ever more cloudier and, as such, publishers’ long-term business plans are becoming ever harder to work out.
Our Open Book Reflections series continues today with a post from our bookkeeper and office manager Dezre Little, who tries to pick apart the publishing world’s increasingly pressing dilemma: digital or print?
Continue reading Open Book Reflections: Crystal-balling the future of the publishing industry
Literary types converged on Cape Town this past long weekend for the 2nd annual Open Book Festival, held within the gorgeous surrounds of the Fugard Theatre, right on the edge of old District Six. It was a time for book launches and readings of award-winning poetry; for coffee, wine and book drives; and for visiting academics, journalists and authors to debate and speculate about the past, present and future of the literary in South Africa.
The more bookish of us at Paperight had been so excited about this weekend that we committed to writing small reviews/rambling essays on each panel we attended. Starting today, we’ll publish them here. Will it be an intellectual success or will we incite below-the-line flame wars with our asinine observations? There’s only one way to find out: make the jump!
Continue reading Open Book Reflections: the imperative for a broadening of the literary in South Africa (and other long words)
Paperight was fortunate enough to be invited to the second round of the SAB Innovation Awards, held this past week at the SAB Training Institute in Barbeque Downs, Johannesburg, as one of 25 finalist “innovations” going head-to-head for a number of seed grants and prizes of up to R1 million.
The occasion brought together some of the country’s brightest entrepreneurs for three days of workshops and adjudications. Projects came from every nook of South Africa, and from wildly different fields: disease diagnostics, indigenous South African medicine, driver simulation, grassroots recycling, rural outdoor advertising, organic marula oil production, fish farming – and us.
It was a privilege to meet and spend time with such exciting ideasmiths – I would hesitate to call them businesspeople outright – and to be able to pitch our idea to the assembled judges. Such was the occasion that Arthur gave up literally hours of his precious bonding time with his newborn son Aidan to help me out at the presentation.
Unfortunately, we weren’t selected to go through to the third (and final) round of adjudication, but the richness of the experience, the bonds I made with new-found friends (or so I like to think), as well as the ability to get a few days out of Cape Town to get some much-needed perspective made the trip more than worth the couple hours spent contemplating death in a rickety old MD-80 at 30 000 feet.
Congratulations and best wishes to the finalists, and thanks to the SAB Foundation for bringing us up. We’ll be attending the awards ceremony on 1 November at SAB HQ in Sandton, and we’re looking forward to seeing you all again then!
Sprightly Paperight intern Ra’essa Pather takes us through her lifelong journey with books, arguing along the way that, even though Paperight works best for people in need of educational and academic texts, it offers a lot to recreational readers, too.
Paperight may be relatively new to the publishing world, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in content. A lot of focus has been placed on the academic material Paperight provides, and with good reason too: cheaper textbooks, anyone? Reading for educational purposes is undoubtedly essential, but if you’re looking for an affordable way to read for pleasure, we can help you there too.
Everyone has their own little list of books they keep close. A couple of titles may be embarrassing, and some may be noted for their chime of intelligence. As an English major, my list has evolved as every semester has passed. My introduction to literature began with the great Roald Dahl. Fantastic Mr. Fox was my favourite story and, though I haven’t read the book in many years, I still remember Mr. Fox as one of the wittiest, craftiest characters of my childhood. My next great obsession was Harry Potter. I read and re-read each book until the next – hopefully even larger – novel in the series was released. High school brought about a confusing mix of novels, many of which I don’t remember. Some are still carefully etched into my list today, however: The Beach (the novel written by Alex Garland thrives above the movie it inspired), The Kite Runner, Spud and Memoirs of a Geisha. University has brought a greater appreciation for texts that lie inside and outside the canon of English literature. In high school I was disgruntled by Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby, whereas now I find the story of Nick Carraway, Jay Gatsby, and Daisy to be tragically sublime.
Had it not been for my studies, I probably would never have read many of the novels I’ve read in recent years. One of which is Frankenstein.
Continue reading A novel alternative
Awesome Paperight intern Diann Selman talks about how Paperight could help her and her fellow university students deal with the heavy costs of academic textbooks.
A few years ago, I was accepted into the University of Cape Town, the top educational institution in Africa. From the day I was accepted, I couldn’t wait to get immersed in its academic vibe. I arrived on campus bright and early on my first day in impatient anticipation of my work. With reading list in hand, I hurried along to the university bookstore to purchase a few of the nine novels I needed. (They sure weren’t kidding when they said English students had to go through a lot of varied reading!)
But when I got there, I literally gasped as the assistant told me the price of each. I went to another nearby bookstore. Their prices were even more absurd. Dismayed after my first day, I went home to think long and hard on a solution.
Continue reading Students need to embrace the future now