All posts by Dezre Little

Dezre Little is our financial manager. She ensures that our team has everything it needs, keeps our business affairs in order, and manages grants and awards.

An inclusive business model

Paperight combines increased opportunities for publishers and entrepreneurs alike, as well as affordable and inclusive access to educational material.

Over time, we developed a handy list of Paperight’s benefits for use in promotional materials and award applications.

Paperight creates long-term benefits by

  • Boosting literacy and education by making books genuinely accessible
  • Creating simple and low cost entrepreneurial opportunities for individuals
  • Boosting existing printing and publishing businesses, by giving them additional products, increasing the value of the printing services that they provide by giving them access to publishers and book printing and providing them with marketing materials
  • Expanding publishers access to poorer and a wider range consumers, over a larger market area, while still earning the same licence fees
  • Reducing the environmental impact of transporting, shipping books and documents, and the wastage caused by unnecessary printing and returns
  • Saving the costs of travel and risk of book shortages for publishers, universities and the individuals who are in remote areas.
  • Bringing the world of books to anyone’s doorstep: rich or poor, rural or urban helping to create equal education opportunities
  • Selling print-outs which are on average cheaper than traditional books
  • Reducing delays in textbook and student material delivery
  • Protecting the publishers, individuals by reducing illegal copying, while redesigning the product in order to be sustainable
  • Increased livelihood opportunities by extending the business model to include the poor.
  • Increasing business opportunities for existing copy shops throughout Southern Africa.
  • Promoting past matric exam papers and additional study material to students
  • Sustaining the marketplace for publishers and authors
  • Opening the market to international copy shops and book stores
  • Assisting educational institutions and distance learners in South Africa and internationally to receive study material, expanding access to educational materials
  • Creating employment opportunities through growing copy shops
  • Building market value by giving copy shops a wider range of books and access to international products at an affordable price, thereby giving them a competitive advantage.

Intermittent accounting

In December 2012 I moved our accounting system over from FreeAgent to FNB Instant Accounting. The reason for the change was to have a better system for managing our books and monitoring our project spending. The main reasons for choosing FNB Instant Accounting were:

  1. The easy importing of banking transactions (automated for most accounts)
  2. The service is free of charge (we are banking with FNB)
  3. The possibility to create multiple sub-ledger accounts (to assist with monitoring project spending).

Getting started wasn’t as quick and easy as we thought it would be. We had some teething issues. As a secondary user on the banking profile with only viewing abilities it wasn’t straightforward to set up. Only the primary account user can see and access the information. This was resolved by creating a secondary user who would then be able to access and use the accounting system. Unfortunately after that the primary user and main account holder, Arthur Attwell, could not access to his own FNB Instant Accounting profile. To date this has not been sorted out.

One of the nice features that FNB Instant Accounting has is the ability to automatically assign transactions to general ledgers using rules. FNB starts assigning some of your banking transactions for you that it recognises before you even start. These include banking charges, telephone expenses and so on. This would have been lovely feature to use. However, we needed to keep track of transactions per project and therefore needed to manually allocate transactions to their various related sub-ledger accounts. I had repeated instances in the early stages where I had disabled the rules and FNB re-enabled them again. After contacting  FNB to have this feature disabled it was fixed by the end of  March 2013.

One thing that I have found incredibly frustrating is the length of time that it takes for the program to load a transaction, refresh and update the data. The pages just hang and it takes ages to capture one manual transaction after another. You can only press save once otherwise you end up with duplicate transactions that you then need to create multiple reverse entries against. For those of us who can multi-task and have two separate screens to work on, this is not too much of a problem. Most of the time this means that the transaction has been captured but it’s best to double check.

Fortunately I had no need to capture invoices in Instant Accounting so I have not experienced issues here. If you need to keep track of debtors and creditors there are some useful discussions available for managing your accounts and VAT returns in Instant Accounting.

More issues that I experienced were with a split transaction that become corrupted while Instant Accounting froze. This meant that I ended up with a trial balance that didn’t balance.  This was resolved with the help of support. After this the bank balance did not match the actual bank balance.  Since I was not able to add or remove transactions that are automatically imported, support was needed to assist here as well. The support team did not let me know when they had made changes and what changes they had made.  These turned out to be wrong and so I needed to go back and advise them again. Since then, they have made an effort to let me know what changes they have made.

I logged into Instant Accounting … only to realise that I was logged into another unrelated company’s profile

One day in January 2013 I logged into Instant Accounting and was pleasantly surprised to see that our income had dramatically increased – only to realise that I was logged into another unrelated company’s profile: Women in Finance. Unfortunately this also meant that I could not access our own accounting profile. I forwarded screen shots to FNB to prove that I was in the wrong accounting profile and they changed  my profile back to having access to Paperight’s financial data.

Trying to find transactions and view historical data is not that great. To search for an amount, you need to know the exact amount you are looking for in order to pick the transaction. Trying to view historical data can be time consuming. FNB Instant Accounting decides for you what you want to search for. Even if you select the previous financial year and select to view all transactions it will still search for transactions within the current year. You then have to clear the filter items it has chosen and start the search again.

The most recent issues experienced were the scroll option no longer working for selecting ledger accounts. It was recommended that I use a different web browser. Later on I was not able to access my ledger accounts at all. Each time I tried to access them Instant Accounting would freeze and log me out. It turned out that I had too many ledger accounts and was asked to delete some of them in order to continue working.

All in all I have been much happier using FNB Instant Accounting than FreeAgent, Wave Accounting or Omni. As long as you don’t need a program that works quickly (especially in the mornings) their system works okay for entrepreneurs and start-ups. Most of the bugs mentioned have since been fixed.

Staying ahead with Google

We were quite diligent in keeping our digital fingerprint up to date and making sure that our SEO was as effective as possible without incurring additional costs.

Some of the ways that we did this was by frequently updating our book metadata fields on our website with additional content, and making sure that we had regular blogs being posted on our sites. We also kept up with Facebook and Twitter.

The fact that we won so many awards and were in so many media releases also made a difference to our presence on the web.

Our strategy was to keep blogging on key focus areas, including key words that we would mention in our media, such as exams, or back-to-school, and then be consistent about how we use them.

We have been very satisfied with the results.

Managing Shuttleworth Foundation funding, project by project

Arthur’s fellowship with the Shuttleworth Foundation began 1 September 2011. He has received in total three years of funding which have been used in 17 projects which make up the total Paperight project.

The process is well organised and thoroughly monitored by the Foundation. We submit detailed pitches which are analysed and discussed before being approved. Memorandums of Agreement are created for each pitch and signed by Arthur and the Foundation’s representative. Invoices are submitted against each project and are tracked. At the end of each project, detailed closing reports are done and the remaining funds which have not been spent are returned to the pool.

Funding we have received and allocated to projects so far includes:

Project 1 – Beta

This is the first Paperight project pitched to the Shuttleworth Foundation. The plan for this project was to hire a core team, build and launch a minimum-featured beta site with automated content licencing and acquisition. The project went better than expected and took four months instead of three. A large portion of the funding requested for this project was put back into the pool to use for other projects. Our budget included a senior developer, a content manager, office costs, interns, registrations, and two laptops.

Total spend: R92 500

We learnt about:

  • The value of great internships
  • The mixed quality of of open sources of content
  • PDF technology
  • Workflow best practice using wiki-based operational manuals
  • The high cost of building open software
  • The difficulty of getting commercial publishers to provide content to new businesses.

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Tarryn-Anne Anderson
  • Nick Mulgrew
  • Arthur Attwell
  • Electric Book Works
  • Michal Blaszczyk

Project 2 – Promotion

The plan for this project was to promote outlets and customers while launching the instant-delivery website. The big goal was to get 100 outlets to register on our website and have 1000 documents purchased within two months. It took over two months to get 100 outlets, some of which were not viable outlets. In the first two months we sold about 100 free documents, and it took ten months to sell 1000 copies. Our budget included three months salaries for an outlet manager, a marketing consultant, a content manager, travelling costs, advertising costs, three computers, office costs and Adobe CS5.5.

Total spend: R489 372

Reasons for the low number of sales:

  • Very few outlets were advertising their Paperight service. Those who did advertise made sales.
  • The concept was very new to outlets.
  • Our marketing did not reach customers.
  • Our catalogue consisted of a small range of material.
  • We had few products to sell which were in demand by customers.
  • There is generally a low interest in the books which we had available on our site to purchase.

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Tarryn-Anne Anderson
  • Nick Mulgrew
  • Yazeed Peters
  • Zimkita
  • Zukisani
  • Arthur Attwell
  • Newsclip Media (social media monitoring)
  • Mega Digital (printing)
  • Nicole Sochen (marketing)
  • Strand Signs (Signboard)
  • Facebook (advertising)
  • Radio Zibonele (advertising)
  • Craig Hughes (content)
  • Caitlin Bracken (content)
  • Raeesa Pather (content)
  • Diann Selman (content)
  • Niki Anderson (marketing)

Project 3 – Site 1.0

it is always necessary to test your own coding and websites over and above that of the developer testing

This project was for creating the first release of the current We contracted Realm Digital and the project went really well. All objectives were achieved. We learnt that it is always necessary to test your own coding and websites over and above that of the developer testing.

Our budget included complete basic frontend components (landing, registration and profile pages, account-credit topup page, catalogue page, licence purchasing page, manage licences page, manage meta data page) and complete basic backend components (account credit management, user search and language page, doc search and manage page, licence search and manage page, PDF watermarking).

Total spend: R509 238

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Arthur Attwell
  • Realm Digital

Project 4 – Office

We planned to move to a formal office space and set up the office infrastructure. All objectives were achieved, the team settled in straight away, enjoyed their new working environment and productivity definitely increased. Our budget covered office furniture, rent, stationery, telephone and general office costs.

Total spend: R92 052

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Tarryn-Anne Anderson
  • Nick Mulgrew
  • Yazeed Peters
  • Dezre Little
  • Arthur Attwell

Project 5 – Team 2.0

We wanted to extend two existing contracts, create two new positions based on new needs and priorities, and allow us to bring in more interns. We first extended our contract positions: Our Chief Operating Officer (Tarryn Ann Anderson) and our Creative Director (Nick Mulgrew). Then we added new positions: Our Financial Manager (Dezre Little), and our Business Development Manager (Yazeed Peters). For our interns we found: Philippa Dewey as our Content Manager, Oscar Masinyana our Reading Communities Manager, and Marie-Louse Rouget our Marketing Coordinator. The team worked really well together and all were amazing team members. Our budget included three months salaries and three new laptops.

Total spend: R200 682

We learnt that

  • Our excellent team were the result of carefully selecting young purpose driven people
  • and a supportive environment.
  • Managing a team is an ongoing learning process. Arthur found giving each team member their own simple functional authority, and clear reporting lines helped to create ‘job coach’ relationships rather than task-based managerial relationships.
  • The process of including the team in the employment selection process meant that a team was created who bought into their team members success, built strong and loyal relationships where everyone is naturally interested in assisting their colleagues in both their career and personal development.
  • It helped a great deal that all team members valued each other as experts in their own area of work, and therefore saw each other as equals and relied on each others strengths wherever possible.

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Tarryn-Anne Anderson
  • Nick Mulgrew
  • Yazeed Peters
  • Oscar Masinyana
  • Dezre Little
  • Arthur Attwell
  • Philippa Dewey
  • Caitlin Bracken (content freelancer)

Project 6 – 6A and B Software phase 2.1 and 2.2

This project was originally written in three parts and then added together to make up what was finally Phase 2.1 and 2.2. As with most development projects, it turned out that more development was needed as Paperight progressed. Overall this project went very well, thanks to good preparation on our side and great professionalism by Realm Digital. The work included building 3rd party product integration and product ownership functionality.

Total spend: R553 641

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Tarryn-Anne Anderson
  • Nick Mulgrew
  • Yazeed Peters
  • Arthur Attwell
  • Dezre Little
  • Realm Digital (website development)
  • Dommisse Attorneys (legal advice)
  • Von Seidels (trademarking advice)

Project 7 – Live magazine

Here we collaborated with Live Magazine, placing a full-page advert in their magazine. The full-page ad featured a story-like cartoon highlighting our Let’s Talk About Varsity and Project H (a graphic novel) . The piece was well executed but there was no discernible increase in sales.

Total spend: R37 500

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Tarryn-Anne Anderson
  • Nick Mulgrew
  • Yazeed Peters
  • Arthur Attwell
  • Live Magazine (advertising)

Project 8 – Team infrastructure

Our team is established and we started focussing on scaling our reach. This project created a year long foundation of infrastructure. We created our Paperight targets and goals to achieve over the next year.

Total spend: R912 555.25

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Tarryn-Anne Anderson
  • Nick Mulgrew
  • Yazeed Peters
  • Arthur Attwell
  • Dezre Little
  • Marie-Louise Rouget
  • Oscar Masinyana
  • Philippa Dewey
  • Wolfsohn and Associates (Accountants)
  • The Book Lounge
  • Publishing Association of South Africa (membership)
  • Facebook (advertising)
  • Topcopy (printing)
  • Newsclip (social media monitoring)
  • Digital Express (printing)
  • Caitlin Bracken (content)
  • Diann Selman (content)
  • Limnos Backery (cakes)
  • Brendan Hughes (legal advice)
  • Freeagent (accounting program)
  • Paypal (payment partner)
  • Dropbox (document storage)
  • South African Book Association (membership)
  • Transforming minds (BEE application)

Project 9 – Frankfurt Book Fair

We sent Tarryn to the Frankfurt Book Fair to develop contacts and build relationships with international publishers. Great relationships were created and additional publishers signed up as a result.

Total spend: R17 180.35

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Tarryn-Anne Anderson
  • Millenium Travel (travel booking)

Project 10 – Trademarking

Trademarking Paperight in South Africa, the US and Europe.

Total spend: Still current, we expect a total cost around R100 000.

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Arthur Attwell
  • Dezre Little
  • Von Seidels (trademarking)

Project 11 – London Book Fair

We sent Tarryn to the London Book Fair to develop contacts and continue to build relationships. Again this was a great success.

Total spend: R18 660.97

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Tarryn-Anne Anderson
  • Citisprint (courier)
  • Millenium Travel (travel booking)

Project 12 – Sales course Yazeed

A ten-week course on selling for our Outlet Development Manager Yazeed Peters, intended primarily to boost sales from outlets to bulk-printing customers, resulting in revenue for Paperight in rights and service fees.

Total spend: R13 369.62

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Yazeed Peters

Project 13 – Unisa guide

This project was for creating and publishing Now What?, a short book on how to succeed as a UNISA student.

Total spend: R30 850.00

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Tarryn-Anne Anderson
  • Nick Mulgrew
  • Yazeed Peters
  • Arthur Attwell
  • Dezre Little
  • Oscar Masinyana
  • Philippa Dewey

Project 14 – Software development

The third major phase of software development on

Total spend: R139 080

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Arthur Attwell
  • Realm Digital

Project 15 – Software phase 4

Our next pilot project to add dynamically designed food packaging print-outs on Only kidding –this was our April fools joke for the Shuttleworth Foundation. We loved writing is as much as they enjoyed reading it.

Total spend: R0

Project 16 – Team operational costs

Paperight’s team infrastructure costs for 6 months, September 2013 to February 2014

Total spend: Still current, we expect approx R1m

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Tarryn-Anne Anderson
  • Nick Mulgrew
  • Yazeed Peters
  • Arthur Attwell
  • Dezre Little
  • Marie-Louise Rouget
  • Oscar Masinyana
  • Philippa Dewey
  • Wolfsohn and Associates (Accountants)
  • Publishing Association of South Africa (membership)
  • South African Book Association (membership)
  • Freeagent (accounting program)
  • FNB Instant Accounting (accounting program)
  • Dropbox (online storage)
  • Docraptor (Invoicing package)

Project 17 – Marketing budget

Initial marketing budget and plans for 6 months, including staff, September 2013 to February 2014.

Total spend: Still current, we expect to spend almost R600K

Current team members/people involved in this project:

  • Tarryn-Anne Anderson
  • Nick Mulgrew
  • Yazeed Peters
  • Arthur Attwell
  • Dezre Little
  • Marie-Louise Rouget
  • Oscar Masinyana
  • Philippa Dewey
  • Daily Maverick (advertising)
  • Minute Man Press (advertising)
  • Shaun Swingler (photography and media)
  • University of Cape Town (advertising and promotions)
  • The Good Times (advertising)
  • Fitees (tshirt printing)
  • C2 Digital (printing)
  • Top Copy (printing)
  • UCT Sax Appeal (advertising)
  • Mega Digital (printing)
  • Newsclip (social media monitoring)
  • Facebook (advertising)
  • Martin Graphix (roller banner)

Credit system for prepaid outlets

Some of our outlets approached us saying that they would be more comfortable using our service if we would operate on a credit system, giving them the ability to spend credits and pay later.

  • Wizardz
  • Juta (cancelled after acquisition by Protea Books)
  • AloeX


We increased the topup values on our outlets accounts by paying the money ourselves which the outlets then owe to us. The benefit for the outlet is that they do not need to make a top-up before they can make a licensed sale to their customer.


The outlets we tried this system with did not feel as though they had invested into the service that we provide and therefore were less motivated to sell our products.

Chasing up for payments with outlets is a time consuming process.


We would not be keen to offer this service in the future.

Our favourite apps

Highly recommended programs

  • Thunderbird: open-source, free mail client. Install at least these addons:
    • Quicktext (for inserting quick templates of text and HTML)
    • Nostalgy (for quickly filing mail and jumping between folders)
    • A spellchecker (and always have spell-checking activated to run before you send email)
  • Google Chrome for web browsing, testing, and great extensions.
  • Mozilla Firefox for web browsing, website testing, and its awesome array of useful addons.
  • Safari for web browsing and website testing
  • Skype for instant messaging and phone calls
  • LibreOffice for text documents and spreadsheets (
  • Notepad++ for quick text files and simple code edits (on Mac, try TextWrangler or Sublime)
  • Adobe Reader for opening PDFs
  • AVG antivirus (the free edition)
  • Irfanview for quickly cropping and resizing pictures
  • Filezilla for getting files on and off remote servers via FTP
  • Trello, a web-based project management program
  • Sage Pastel My Business Online, a multi-user accounting application
  • Youtube, for video sharing online
  • Vimeo, for video sharing online
  • WordPress, an open sourced blogging tool
  • OpenOffice, an open source office software suite
  • Base, an online CRM management program
  • Quicktext, widget for Thunderbird
  • Trovebox, for online storage of information
  • Bitly, an online URL shortener
  • Textwrangler, a text editor for Mac
  • Irfanview, an image editor
  • CamStudio, for creating screencast videos
  • Any Video Converter, file size converting

Highly recommended software

  • Dropbox, either for your own files or for syncing withthe company shared files (be sure to read up about how Dropbox works, especially before deleting any files, or syncing with the company share).
  • HeidiSQL for viewing MySQL databases
  • EpubReader, as a Firefox addon, for reading DRM-free epubs
  • Kindle for PC for reading Kindle ebooks on your computer
  • 7-Zip for extracting and compressing files (especially ones the Windows built-in unzipper can’t handle, like .tar)
  • PDFCreator for printing to PDF
  • Evolus Pencil for creating screen wireframes for user interfaces or even things like quick poster or flyer design drafts
  • VideoLAN (aka VLC) media player, for those occasions when Windows Media Player won’t play your music or video
  • Sigil, if you ever have reason to edit or look inside epub files.
  • Github, for building software online
  • EasyFile-employer, for your emp501 returns


Report on Stellenbosch training

Marie and I had the opportunity to go through to Stellenbosch for most of the day to train up some of our existing outlets. Even though they had been trained in person by Yazeed and had been guided in depth over the phone by Nick and Marie, they were still battling to use our website and our services effectively.

We had received some complaints from customers that they had waited more than a week and had not received even a quote from the outlets. The outlets were defensive saying that they had not received sufficient training and did not have sufficient time to explore the services themselves.

The experience that we had with the outlets was not isolated to the ones in Stellenbosch. We have had many phone calls from frustrated customers who have complained that copy shops had either not replied, taken days to deliver their order or not provided the service that they wanted. This made things quite complicated for us as some outlets would give excellent service and were committed to serving their customers and others seemed to find the opportunity to work as a Paperight outlet a burdensome event.

Some outlets even admitted to turning customers away. One of the more frequent reasons for outlets turning customers away was the fact that new staff members had not been made aware of the Paperight service and therefore advised that they could not assist.

We have been saddened that some of our customers have walked away dissatisfied as we had little control over the level of customer service received.  The customers who have been to our top outlets and received great service have all walked away satisfied with the end product.

Each day we are striving to improve these gaps by communicating with our outlets and preserving the relationships which share our values and serviceability.

Strategy and requirements to be VAT compliant in 2013

One of my first assignments at Paperight was to meet with our accountants, Wolfsohn and Associates, to establish whether we needed to register for VAT and whether our grant income received from the Shuttleworth Foundation would be zero-rated or not.

After many discussions and meetings we confirmed that Paperight should in fact be registered for VAT as the grant income from the Shuttleworth Foundation should be recorded as income, but that the income would be VATable at zero percent. We also established that we could claim 14% of input on VAT charged. We needed to be registered for VAT for 1 January 2013, and we agreed that the best method for Paperight was to act as an agency and not a principal.

The grant from the Shuttleworth Foundation comes from an overseas base and is received for specific projects which are monitored.  All grant income received from within South Africa would attract VAT at 14%.

This meant that our website needed to be updated to take VAT into consideration on all documentation, sales calculations and reporting.

Our Paperight VAT strategy for updating our website was  as follows:

Paperight as an agency: the financial accounts perspective

  • Acting as an agency, only our 20% commission received is recorded as income in our books.  The top-up and publisher earnings will be monitored with control accounts.
  • The turnover will then be 20% of the sales made inclusive of VAT as per our agreements with publishers/rightsholders.
  • The suspense accounts will be reconciled on an ongoing basis.
  • The suspense accounts must agree with rightsholder statements.
  • Output VAT will only be applicable on Paperight’s 20% commission.
  • All commission is VAT inclusive and 14/114ths must be paid to SARS.
  • All invoices will be automatically generated on based on the information received from rightsholders and outlets.
  • Statements will be drawn which reflect the all invoices and commission earned in one month.  The commission income earned from each rightsholder, and the licence fees earned by each rightsholder is captured in the accounting system at the end of the month.

Paperight’s relationship with publishers

  • As the agent we prepare all invoices on behalf of the publisher.
  • The invoices are created from the publisher (the principal) to the outlet (the customer) for 100% of the value of the licence payment in rands.
  • The currency will reflect in Rands and USD.
Scenario 1.: Local publisher invoices local outlet
  • Paperight issues an Agent Sales/Tax Invoice on the rightsholder’s behalf.
  • If the publisher is VAT registered then the invoice includes 14% VAT on the total licence fee. If no then it doesn’t include VAT.
  • Our rightsholders need to give us their details in order to reflect this correctly.
  • Paperight attracts 14% VAT on commission earned from the licence sales.
Scenario 2:  Local publisher invoices overseas outlet
  • Paperight issues an Agent Sales/Tax Invoice on the rightsholder’s behalf.
  • If the publisher is VAT registered then the invoice includes 14% VAT on the total licence fee. If no then it doesn’t include VAT.
  • Note: the same situation applies to this case as it does when Paperight invoices overseas Publishers.
  • Paperight attracts 14% VAT on commission earned from the licence sales.
Option 3:  Overseas publisher invoices local outlet
  • Paperight issues a Agent Sales/Tax Invoice on the rightsholders  behalf
  • No VAT is charged unless the rightsholder requests it. This information must be according to their tax and advised within their agreement
  • Paperight attracts 14% VAT on commission earned from the licence sales.
Option 4:  Overseas Publisher invoices Overseas Outlet
  • No VAT is charged. This information must be according to their tax and advised within their agreement.
  • Paperight attracts 14% VAT on commission earned from the licence sales.


  • All Invoices made to outlets are done in the name of the Rightsholder/Principal.
  • Invoices include or exclude VAT dependent on publishers’ VAT registration details being supplied.
  • Paperight will provide the rightsholder with an Agency Sales Statement/Tax Invoice for sales made during the month and the corresponding commission earned by Paperight at 20% inclusive of VAT.
  • The invoices clearly state Tax Invoice as well as Agent Sales Statement.
  • We act as an agent on behalf of all publishers/rightsholders.
  • Our contract includes a clause that says that the publisher gives Paperight a non-exclusive license to deliver the PDF to the copy shop and to collect the rights fee in return. Separately it says that Paperight will pay 80% of that rights fee to the publisher. It also notes that we are VAT registered and that the commission invoice is inclusive of VAT.
  • Rightsholder earnings are held until the publisher requests that they be paid out. This is done through the website.
  • The length of time that that money is held does not change the value in Rands.
  • The exchange rate is calculated and recorded at the time of purchase and not at the time of withdrawal of credits. Important where the outlet and the publisher’s working currencies differ.
  • Existing publishers are updated on the changes and information received.
  • The commission invoice to the publishers includes Rand values, inclusive of VAT.


The most relevant regulations that govern this:

the legislation has been clarified further to the effect that services supplied to a non-resident may only be zero-rated if the services are supplied directly to that non-resident, or any other person, AND both the non-resident and the other person are not in South Africa at the time the services are supplied.

Only when your Publisher and your Outlet are both overseas at the time of the transaction can your commission invoice be zero-rated

54(3) The agent must maintain records of sales and purchases he makes on behalf of his principal

Because an agent may not want to disclose to his  principal who he sold to, or who he bought from, (or how much profit he made) he may keep copies of the tax invoices he made out for the sales or the tax invoices he received for purchases on behalf of his principal.

In such case, the agent must send a monthly  statement to his principal giving details of the goods or services sold or bought, the quantity of the goods or services bought or sold, the selling or purchase price and the amount of VAT charged or paid. This statement can also constitute a tax invoice for the agents commission.  In such case, it must state “statement for agency sales/purchases” and “tax invoice”. It must also show the VAT registration numbers of the agent and the principal

Things to keep in mind

  • The exchange rate is not shown but is based on the Yahoo! exchange rate which has been built into the website.
  • Our 20% is currently inclusive of VAT for all rightsholders local and international.
  • We are not paying for VAT on the full amount but on 14% of the 20% commission earned. For each R20 rand out of R100, that would equal R2.46.
  • We are making 17.5% on every book purchase that is not Paperight owned.

Paperight’s relationship with outlets

  • The outlet registers, VAT number and address required.
  • The topup is received and voucher value is recorded on their accounts page.
  • No tax invoice or invoice is issued when receiving credits.
  • Only actual downloads are invoiced for the outlets will receive an invoice upon downloading a printable document.
  • The invoice will be downloadable directly from the website.
  • The invoices contain 100% of the sale, include the Publisher’s details.
  • The invoices include VAT based on the VAT status of the Publisher and not Paperight.
  • The credit value and the exchange rate value in rands will be stipulated on the invoice.

Publisher registration page

  • When a publisher registers they must provide their VAT registration number and liability start date if applicable.
  • This information will be pulled through on the the valid tax certificates created for each sale.

The outlet dashboard

  • When the outlet downloads a book, a copy of the invoice is  available on the outlet’s dashboard to download.
  • When an outlet downloads a book they receive an invoice from the Publisher.
  • Outlet invoices are saved on the outlet dashboard and available to download at any stage with applicable VAT, depending on the Publisher’s details, for the full value of the transactions.
  • Paperight has access to all the invoices that have been made.

Administrative access to website data

  • The invoices and statements sent to outlets are accessible to the Paperight accounts team.
  • The accounts team have access to the  server and are able to search by outlet or publisher for the total invoices issued over a month.
  • The data can be exported in csv format.
  • The most significant cells for importing data into accounting programs are the date and currency format.
  • Admins are able to log in and download copies of invoices where necessary.

The publisher dashboard

  • The rightsholders each have access to their own dashboard so that a copy of their monthly statement is available to download. They can also view the  balance of the money due to them.
  • The rightsholders are also able to request a payment for earnings from their dashboard on the website and forwarded through to accounts.
  • Paperight’s accounts administrators are then able to mark a publisher’s request for withdrawal as paid and the balance is updated on the website.

Currency issues and solutions

  • Payment in a foreign currency will always need to be converted into rands for the accounting system. The Yahoo! exchange rate used is recorded for each transaction.
  • The exchange rate is captured on the date of the first time the document is downloaded (the effective date of the final licence payment), to show the ZAR value at the time of sale. This information is reflected on the statement between Paperight and the Publishers to show them how the rate has been calculated. The rate  used in capturing the Publishers commission received and balance off the entries in the accounting program are also reflected.

Nurturing the team

At Paperight we really do believe in nurturing each other wherever we can.  We assist each other projects, brainstorm as a team, motivate and challenge each other on various projects. Training each other was great fun and we were eager to share  our skill sets.

We shared our achievements and our plans over Skype on a daily basis, checking in with each other on our progress and keeping the team informed about what were busy with. Meetings take place on a weekly basis to go over what we have shipped  and planned to achieve in the next week. Monthly meetings with our mentors are an opportunity to see how we have progressed, make sure that we share the same focus and plan ahead.

We each have our own areas of functional authority which we use as a guideline for planning ahead. Generally though, our workload overlaps and we split the tasks according to who is available and most suited to the task.

Training workshops have included:

  • WordPress site building workshops (Arthur)
  • Basic business finance training (Arthur and Dezre)
  • HTML training (Arthur)
  • CSS training (Arthur)
  • SEO and social media training (Nick)
  • Spreadsheet training (Arthur)
  • An introduction to SA Publishing (Tarryn)
  • An introduction to Copyright (Tarryn)
  • InDesign/Photoshop (Nick)
  • Metadata management (Tarryn)
  • Productivity (Arthur)
  • Customer service (Yazeed)
  • Negotiation and sales (Arthur)
  • How works (Arthur)
  • Defining your target market (Yazeed)
  • Google Analytics (Tarryn)
  • Managing personal tax (Arthur, Dezre)
  • Screencast videos (Philippa, Marie, Tarryn)
  • Mail merging (Arthur)
  • Base CRM (Tarryn)
  • URL shortening (Arthur)

Other crazy things we have done as a team:

  • The Shuttleworth Foundation behaviour questionnaire
  • Entering into writing competitions
  • Competing against Random House Struik in a soccer match

Most of the team were given code names:

  • Nick otherwise known as Nighthawk
  • Tarryn otherwise known as Terrorwolf
  • Dezre otherwise known as Deathray or Kim Possible
  • Marie otherwise known as Captain
  • Philippa otherwise known as Dr. Phil
  • Emma otherwise known as M
  • Arthur otherwise known as Arthvader or Arthur of the roundtable

Our favourite video links include:

Often-shared links and resources included:

Some favourite office games:

Favourite foods:

  • Bananas
  • Cake
  • Macaroni and cheese

Fun times.

A life sued

(Also see Philippa’s post on this startling turn of events.)

An unexpected visitor

On the 7th May 2013 16h22 an attorney arrived at our office with a stack of papers giving us notice that Mamphela Ramphele intended to take a case up against New Africa Books (PTY) Ltd (First Respondent) and Paperight (PTY) Ltd (Second Respondent).

The notice prevented us from doing any act that related to the book authored by Mamphela Ramphele and entitled Mamphela Ramphele: A Life, including producing, publishing and distributing the book. We were ordered as the second respondent to remove all copies and references to this book from our website and our outlets within 10 days of receiving this order.

We were also notified that we would be liable as respondents to pay the costs of the application and possible further or alternative relief. This came as quite a shock to us as we were given permission to add this book to our website as New Africa Books was the title owner.

We got in touch with New Africa Books to find out what had taken place. There was quite a complex story involved where there was some confusion about who was the current title owner, New Africa Books or Mamphela Ramphele.

We took the book off of our website and drafted an affidavit which was sent through to our lawyer to explain what took place. The case against us was dropped as we had not infringed any copyright agreement.

Our drafted affidavit

Paperight acts as a distribution service for Rightsholders by allowing printing businesses to licence and legally print out books and other paper documents from its website.

Rightsholders register on the Paperight website and provide Paperight with content that they would like distributed through the Paperight network.

Rightsholders charge a licence fee through the Paperight website to printing businesses to allow them to legally print out copies of documents.

Paperight ordinarily takes 20% of each licence fee earned by a rightsholder through the Paperight website.

Rightsholders are required to agree to Paperight’s Rightsholder Agreement – or negotiate and sign a separate legal contract if the Rightsholder objects to any of the terms of the regular Agreement – when they sign up with the Paperight service.

New Africa Books (Pty) Ltd signed up with Paperight on 25 February 2013, and agreed to the standard Paperight Rightsholder Agreement in doing so.

Paperight was supplied with an original print copy of Mamphela Ramphele – A Life by New Africa Books (Pty) Ltd thereafter, as the latter was seeking to republish the book under its David Philip Publishers imprint.

The copy of Mamphela Ramphele – A Life supplied to Paperight from New Africa Books (Pty) Ltd was published by David Philip Publishers in 1995. Paperight digitised and uploaded Mamphela Ramphele – A Life onto the Paperight system on 17 April 2013.

Paperight released a press release, jointly with New Africa Books (Pty) Ltd, promoting the latter’s re-printing and “re-release” of Mamphela Ramphele – A Life and its distribution through bookstores and the Paperight network.

On 7 May 2013, Paperight was notified of a motion relating to copyright infringement of Mamphela Ramphele on behalf of New Africa Books (Pty) Ltd and Paperight, relating to the reprinting of Mamphela Ramphele – A Life.

As per Paperight’s Rightsholder Agreement, which New Africa Books (Pty) Ltd agreed to when they signed up to the Paperight service, “the Rightsholder warrants that it is the owner of, or is authorized to licence, the rights to all content provided to Paperight”.

The agreement further states that content provided by a Rightsholder “does not infringe on anyone else’s intellectual property or other rights”.

The Rightsholder Agreement states that “The Rightsholder will defend, indemnify and hold harmless Paperight […] against any third-party claims arising from a breach of this warranty”.

The onus of the legality of the content provided to and distributed by Paperight is therefore on the Rightsholder, in this case, New Africa Books (Pty) Ltd.

Paperight, therefore, cannot be held responsible for any infringement on Mamphela Ramphele’s copyright by New Africa Books. After being served with the notice, Mamphela Ramphele – A Life was taken off of the Paperight system at the discretion of Paperight’s employees.

From 17 April 2013 to 7 May 2013, New Africa Books (Pty) Ltd did not sell any copies of Mamphela Ramphele – A Life through the Paperight network.

As such, Paperight has earned no money or royalties from New Africa Books (Pty) Ltd’s distribution of Mamphela Ramphele – A Life.