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When SA lecturers write textbooks, there is a tendency to prescribe the same textbook even long after it is out of date which needs to be addressed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!
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.
The excitement is building in the run up to the Open Book Festival, one of the premiere events on the South African literary calendar! Set in Cape Town, the event brings local and international writers together to talk about things that matter – and we’re going too!
On Saturday the 7th of September 2013, we’re hosting a panel discussion titled “Young Writers, Big Futures” to explore the successes of the Paperight Young Writers’ Anthology 2013 and the challenges of developing writers in South Africa. Hosted by our CEO Arthur Attwell and featuring an appearance from esteemed author (and our foreword contributor) Niq Mhlongo, this is a great opportunity to come together as a big Paperight family and celebrate our mission of bringing every book within walking distance of every home.
So, we’d love you to join us. The event will be held at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town on 7 September and tickets are going for R30 per person. Come around, say hi, meet some of our great young writers, and see for yourselves what we’re up to. For more information about the event and to purchase tickets, click here.
Arnie owns a copy shop. A very busy copy shop. It’s called Arnie’s Printing, is in Retreat, Cape Town, and does a lot of good business. He prints a lot of flyers, does a lot of copying, and is excited to use Paperight more in partnership with local schools.
You wouldn’t know it was there, though. Unless you’re eagle-eyed, you might drive right past it. This was the only sign for Arnie’s business: a small advert outside his house-cum-copy-shop. It’s comprehensive, sure, but a copy shop with big plans to serve its community needs something a bit more imposing and a bit more attention-grabbing.
So we made Arnie this, the first ever Paperight-branded copy shop sign. It was put up a couple weeks ago and we went to go see it in the flesh (or, er, metal) today. It looks great, and Arnie says that it’s already bringing his shop more attention.
Outlet Development Manager Yazeed completed the hand-over. We’re thrilled to have this sign up and to use our resources to help out one of our outlets. Who knows – hopefully this can spark a wave of Paperight-branded signs and advertising for fledgling copy shops throughout South Africa!
Thanks for having us, Arnie, and we hope the new sign brings in plenty new business for you.
Want a Paperight-branded sign and advertising for your copy shop? We might be able to make that happen for you! Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can chat.
We’re putting together the first Paperight Young Writers Anthology. High school learners from around South Africa are invited to submit their original short stories, essays, poetry and black-and-white illustrations for inclusion in this ground-breaking new collection.
If you don’t have a Paperight outlet near you, you can ask your nearest copy shop to sign up, or ask your school to do it for you. In fact, any organisation can use Paperight to print out books, exam packs and other documents from our online library – all they need is a printer and an internet connection.
The only thing you have to pay for matric exam packs at your local copy shop is printing costs. Plus, you don’t even have to print out everything – just print out what you need!
If you’d like to find a list of all the exam packs that you can print out at Paperight outlets, you can find one for language subjects here, and one for non-language subjects here. (We have them all!)
If you need any help or advice about how to get hold of our matric exam packs, you’re welcome to email us on email@example.com.
Amazing statistics released last week revealed that Live Magazine SA is now South Africa’s highest-circulating youth magazine. Seeing as we’re a company dedicated to staying ahead of the curve, it should come as little of a surprise that Paperight is featured in this month’s issue of Live in this cool little comic, written and illustrated by members of Live’s talented (and at-times scarily young) team.
Live is distributed for free throughout the Western and Eastern Capes, Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal. If you want to read it, but aren’t in any of these areas or otherwise can’t get hold of it, you can read it online for free at this link. Either way, take notice: there’s some seriously good journalism in this issue.