SA start-up wins at London Book FairSouth African start-up company Paperight has won the Digital Minds Innovation Award at the London Book Fair – one of the world’s most prestigious publishing events.
The showcase was held last night at the Digital Minds Conference, a precursor event to the London Book Fair, where dozens of illustrious speakers from around the publishing world speculate and postulate about evolution, innovation and disruption in the publishing industry. Keynote speakers included authors Neil Gaiman and Robert Levine, as well as Will Atkinson, Sales and Marketing Director at Faber & Faber.
Paperight, which is based in Cape Town and funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation, beat out seven other shortlisted candidates after a short presentation in front of an audience of hundreds of the world’s publishing thought leaders, and won thanks to a popular vote. Audience members were impressed by Paperight’s ingenious solution to book distribution problems in South Africa: by allowing photocopy shops to print books cheaply, quickly and – crucially – legally, Paperight is increasing access to books where they have never been physically and financially accessible before.
The win comes on the back of Paperight’s win at a similar innovation showcase at the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference in New York City in February, and a seed grant from the SAB Foundation as part of their Innovation Awards. Unlike Paperight’s win at the O’Reilly Tools of Change Startup Showcase, however, where Paperight was the only shortlisted innovation from outside Europe and North America, this time Paperight also beat stiff competition from the Middle East.
“We’re incredibly honoured to have this support from the world’s leading minds in digital publishing,” said Paperight founder and CEO Arthur Attwell. “It shows that as publishers we’re serious about solving the real problems of book distribution, getting the knowledge we create into the hands of people everywhere, no matter where they live or how much they earn.”