The more I talk to people in education and publishing about what we’re doing at Paperight, the more I hear fascinating stories. My uncle David Attwell is an academic, teacher and writer who has worked and travelled around the world. He tells me:
The most innovative bookstore owner I ever met ran an operation from a garage in Rabat, Morocco. He would order books on appro by the BIG NAMES in criticism and theory, from all the global English and French publishers, then send them back having photocopied them. Then, the genius move, he would RENT his photocopies to students, for less than a dollar a week in most cases. (There was no way the students in Morocco could ever afford books published by the likes of Routledge.) I found some of the most informed students I’ve ever met, in Rabat, who used this service. Paperight would sort all this out.
This is exactly the kind of entrepreneur I referred to broadly in a TED Talent Search talk recently. Another favourite is this image and story snippet from Travlr on Flickr, who got a photocopied New York Times on his doorstep in Djibouti every morning. Where reading matter is inaccessible, because of cost or geography, people will make a plan, one way or another, to get it anyway. It’s time to help them do that easily and legally.