An Interesting New Publishing Model
Have you heard of Concord Free Press? Their motto is "free their books and their minds will follow." They're pretty serious about that "free" part too, btw, at least in the sense that they don't ask their readers to pay them for their books.
Instead of selling books they give them away and ask customers to make a donation to a charity or someone in need. They also encourage that person to pass the book along to someone else so that the next person will also make a donation, leading to a chain of giving that can go on and on.
How cool is that? Scroll down on their website to see a list of customers who have already made donations for their first book. Very inspiring, particularly in this time of economic unrest.
Their "business model" page maintains that "... our books don’t generate traditional profits, they create real value."
That strongly implies that publishing for profit does not create real value. I submit that publishing for profit enables writers to create real value.
They cite foreign and film rights and other sub-rights as potential sources of income for writers who donate their books. Really, what percentage of books sell foreign and film rights? (Out of 43 books I've seen 11 foreign-language sales, for which I'm grateful. Plus three foreign pirate editions. Flattery. I think I'm in a minority.)
And I have to contest the "writers rarely get paid" statement on another page. Unless they mean all writers. If you take writers at large--yeah, only a small pecentage of people who write anything besides checks (a vanishing art) and letters are paid. But that small percentage who are published by paying magazines and commercial publishers do get paid. (And a smaller percentage are promised money and don't get paid, but that's another story.)
That aside, it's a noble idea. And one that may draw readable work. Unless they have a partner to support them or are indepedently wealthy, most working writers are not going to find this a viable publishing route.
On the third hand, some working writers might just give away a book to publicize their other work or specific works in general.
And Concord Free Press may be a way for new (unpublished) writers to validate their work and encourage themselves. So they should be careful to publish quality work. This may help some writers sell sub-rights, and/or additional titles.
Posted by: Michael A. Banks | November 19, 2008 at 09:54 PM