We’re super proud of three new videos:
22 Oct 2013: This 8-min documentary on how and why Pelican Park High bought study materials through us is so affirming for us. It helps answer the doubts that can haunt you when you’re wondering whether you’re moving forward at all.
1 Nov 2013: Similarly, this 8-min documentary on how and why Minuteman Press sponsored books for Silverstream Secondary.
18 Nov 2013: We created a short 1-minute promo from the Pelikan park video on why schools should buy study materials through us.
But the real hjighlight event of the last few months has to be the launch event of the Paperight Young Writers Anthology on 7 September 2013. (See the blog post here and photos on Facebook.)
Back at the ranch, at the end of October we finally integrated our outlets map onto our product pages, to offer the ability to find outlets and compare prices of books at them per product.
This new product-page map explains the concept behind Paperight much better, too, which frees up other messaging space.
At the same time, we also created a range of new screencast videos for our help site (released 21 Oct 2013), produced on 4 Nov 2013 a new printable product catalogue, including improved CSV-based workflow to make future updates quick and easy, and made (on 13 Nov) some useful guides for schools and sponsors on how to work with us.
Marie and Nick have also been producing loads of Facebook posts about our books and outlets.
Out and about
- On 10 Oct 2013 I pitched at the Accenture Innovation Awards in Joburg, and won! More on that below.
- 9 to 13 October 2013: Tarryn, our COO, visited the Frankfurt Book Fair, and also won an award. More below.
- 24 Oct 2013: I spoke at the launch of market research company Yellowwood’s white paper on transformative innovation. Here’s text and video.
- 6 Nov 2013: “Tough Truths about Selling to Publishers”. I spoke at the inaugural Footnote Summit, a South African digital-publishing conference. I was worried I might offend some people, but my worries were unfounded: people really appreciated my honest, and my talk led directly to one important publisher signing up, and another giving us much better books.
- 11 Oct 2013: Nice PR opportunities off back of Accenture win, including this breakfast TV show (skip to 3:10 for me).
We noticed on 4 Sep 2013 that local copy shop Top Copy had devoted their entire front facade to Paperight books. It’s great to see one of our champion copy shops devoting their prime ad space to our books.
We identified 46 separate media pieces about us, including these highlights:
- 1 Sep 2013, Foshini Tech Magazine feature on innovation and transparency.
- 1 Sep 2013, Bookmark (bookselling industry magazine), “Innovations that encourage a nation of readers”.
- 17 Sep 2013, SA Booksellers Association, “Innovations that encourage a nation of readers”
- 26 Sep 2013, George Herald, “Blitsdruk and Paperight help matrics”.
- 8 October 2013, Good E Reader, “Paperight Spreads Book Access by Reverting from Digital to Paper”
- 8 October 2013, Buchmesse Blog, “The Publisher as Start Up Incubator”
- 9 October 2013, BooksLIVE, “Paperight Wins the Inaugural CONTEC International Publishing Start-Up Showcase”
- 10 October 2013, Memeburn, “FNB, Paperight come out tops in SA innovation index”
- 11 October 2013, Business Day BDLive, “FNB named best large company innovator”
- 14 October 2013, Ventureburn, “Publishing startup Paperight claims two prestigious awards in one week”
- 18 October 2013, Cape Talk, interview with Arthur Attwell and Kieno Kammies
- 1 November 2013, Destiny Man magazine profile of Arthur Attwell in “40 Under 40” feature.
- 10 November 2013, Thad McIlroy: The Future of Publishing (blog), “Fixing Publishing is a Group Effort”
- 11 Nov 2013: Interview on Nedbank Business Accelerator, where presenter Pavlo Phitidis describes us generously as “the answer to every educational problem we’ve had with regard to the distribution of school books”
- 19 November 2013, Publishing Perspectives, “Ether for Authors: Is There an “Architecture of Collaboration” for Startups?”
- 28 November 2013, Business Day, “Index lays the foundation for benchmarking innovation”.
- 28 November 2013, Business Day, “Print-on-demand service does it by the book”.
Five great wins in the last three months:
Our roadmap for the next 3 months
October and November sales were very low, so for the next three months we’re shifting focus to our Feb/Mar 2014 universities promotional campaign, headlined #textbookrevolution, and emphasising the need for universities and publishers to move away from their traditional, bloated supply chain (where 70% of the retail price of a textbook goes to the supply chain alone), and towards Paperight.
Throughout September we continued to work on uploading the backlog of documents on to Paperight. This included the upload of all the Accent Press titles, which we pushed to get on in time to run the planned erotica and romance campaign. That marketing project was subsequently cancelled, you can read more about why here.
We did a big overhaul of DropBox, to ensure that archiving was happening smoothly and that everything was in the right place. We uploaded the Cambridge University Press titles, and met with them to further discussions about getting prescribed textbooks on Paperight. We also met with Pearson to finalise the signing of our agreement with them – a big win.
Our other big event for the month was the launch of the Paperight Young Writer’s Anthology at the Open Book festival. You can read about that in more detail here.
My other activities for the month were Frankfurt Book Fair related: I applied for the CONTEC Startup Showcase, on Paperight’s behalf. This included writing, refining and filming a video pitch, and submitting the online application. I also set-up a number of meetings for FBF (McGraw Hill, Wiley, Routledge, Hachette, Bloomsbury, Worldreader), and did a lot of travel admin with Dez.
July’s big win was getting the O’Reilly books on Paperight. These textbooks were not prescribed at universities, but are an important and oft sought out supplementary resource for first year computer science students. Once these were uploaded I contacted lecturers about the books, asking if they would promote these to students. We had some positive results (particularly from Stellenbosch University), but ultimately saw minimal sales conversions.
Following my return from the London Book fair, I met with Elsevier South Africa about getting their titles on Paperight. Other ongoing meetings and follow-ups included Random House Struik, Modjaji Books, Jacana, SelfMadeHero, Cassava Republic, Jonathan Ball and Pluto Press. We facilitated the transfer of CUP titles and Accent Press titles, uploaded the first 14 HPMG journals (we put the rest on the backburner pending sales), and sourced missing metadata and covers from Do Sustainability.
I spent time working on CSS (Prince), and Arthur and I revised our rightsholder agreement using feedback from our negotiations with Pearson and O’Reilly Media. I also spent the day at Colour and Copy in Rondebosch, worked with Nick to organise POS advertising and flyers for them. I also completed a survey of the staff as per Yazeed’s request.
- Livity Africa (9/7/2013)
- Better Life Books (9/7/2013)
- Accent Press (12/7/2013)
- Bisel Classics (12/7/2013)
- Fatai Oladapo (16/7/2013)
- Ispirato (23/7/2013)
- Filipe Santos (26/7/2013)
I was away for much of May (on leave) and back in the office on the 20th. Nevertheless, it was an important month. When I returned, I countersigned the CUP agreement and the Carroll & Brown agreement. We fixed some bugs on the site, completed the Mindset Learn upload, and facilitated the transfer of some Pan Macmillan titles (The Youngsters series to start with).
I also continued with LBF follow up, and general publisher followups on loose administrative ends, trying to nudge towards registrations that had been promised, fielding questions from wary publishers (usually regarding piracy and DRM). In the LBF wrap up, we also completed a reconciliation of expenses for the trip, and I sent content proposals out to publishers I’d met at the fair, and who were interested in registering.
This month was also the end of Philippa’s time with us. She left her internship at Paperight to take two successive ones at the US Trademark Offices and the Copyright Clearance Center in Washington DC
UPDATE: Don’t worry, this is not the last you’ll hear of her! She came back!
- SelfMadeHero (7/5/2013)
- Pressque Publishing (8/5/2013)
- Masimba Musodza (9/5/2013)
- Oxford University Press (13/5/2013)
- Ilex Omni Publishing (15/5/2013)
- Pillar International Publishing (21/5/2013)
- Author jonah Becker (21/5/2013)
- Geko Publishing (21/5/2013)
- Graceworks (22/5/2013)
- Gail Iris Rosslee (27/5/2013)
- Panmacmillan SA (29/5/2013)
- theInkSword (30/5/2013)
- Botshelo Publishing (31/5/2013)
March brought the first flood of anthology submissions. I triaged these from team email to Oscar, who then catalogued the entries. Once we’d received the influx, we set about organising an Anthology hack day to wade through submissions, read, and complete the first round of judging. While we’d have many sessions like this, I was only involved in the first few before I went to London, and then on leave.
In the spirit of writing competitions, we also met with Rachel Zadok to discuss Short Story Day Africa. Given that many of our team members are published or aspiring writers themselves, it was a project we were keen to be a part of. Paperight took on the sponsorship of the design and typesetting of the anthology, with the requirement that it be made available on Paperight after publication.
Our ongoing work with publishers included meetings with Cambridge University Press, Harlequin, Modjaji, and Do Sustainability. I finalised my London Book Fair meetings. And we tried approaching publishers on ADvTech’s list of prescribed books (though we received no response).
We also worked on A Life, for New Africa Books. I finalised the epub and mobi versions. Diann came in to do some freelance work. I correspondence with Caitlin about her freelance work on the College Campus prep, oversaw Philippa’s CSV creation, and sourced missing information where necessary.
- Chris van Rensburg (7/3/2013)
- Calm In Storm (18/7/2013)