I have a lot of respect for the publishing platform of Portland, Oregon's Another Sky Press. When purchasing a book online through their website you are given the option to buy the book at cost and if you wish, an extra contribution which is in turn what supports the artist and publisher. I tip my hat to Another Sky. I think they are on to something, I know it worked for Radiohead. Hopefully they get the support they deserve. We need a mass change in the way (at least online) commerce works.
Anteism has always been interested in financial systems like this. We have in the past had our books online for free, but now make our sold out publications available online . I hope to one day adopt a modified system such as Another Sky's.
Below is further information on Another Sky's publishing methods.
There are a whole bunch of reasons we are doing this. Some of them are idealistic (we trust people!). Some of them are economic (we want everyone to be able to afford our books!). Some of them are philosophical (we believe it is a better system!). Some of them are technological (flow with technology, don‚Äôt fight it!).
But really, it comes down to something very simple: I sat down and tried to figure out a system of commerce that was as ‚Äòpure‚Äô as possible. One free of greed. One that gave as many people as possible the ability to be a part of it, whether as artist or audience. One which allowed the artists who excelled to be compensated and thus continue to create art. And this system of neo-patronage is what I came up with. Is it perfect? Will it work? Questions, questions, and there‚Äôs no way to know the answers until it‚Äôs been tried. And so I am, with the help and dedication of others who want to see this system thrive.
(one - it makes sense)
Technology changes the world, whether people want it to or not. The printing press, the telephone and the car have all re-mapped the world. New technologies can bring down kings and churches, can restructure our lives right in front of our eyes. One thing is certain - we are no longer tied to traditional means of distribution (case in point, when was the last time a milkman delivered to your door?)
Rather than fight technology, we‚Äôve decided to flow with it. Rather than ‚Äòprotect‚Äô our ‚Äòintellectual property‚Äô with DRM and other consumer-unfriendly practices, we‚Äôre offering it all for free. Rather than fight against P2P and related technologies, we‚Äôll embrace them.
Which, of course, leaves that one burning question: how does the artist get paid? We think the answer is something along the lines of neo-patronage, and we‚Äôre willing to put our money, time, and effort where our mouth is.
(two - the audience is the sole arbitrator of value)
We believe it would be better if individuals could decide the value of art after they experience it, not before. Few people, if any, would buy a painting sight unseen. Yet most of us often purchase music, films and books at a fixed price before we even know if the ‚Äòproduct‚Äô is actually any good. As a result we‚Äôve created a market where we often support creativity based on the quality of the hype, not the quality of the actual creation. This in turn has lead to a downturn in quality because the bottom line doesn‚Äôt care whether or not you liked the movie/book/cd - you‚Äôve already spent your money. There is little incentive to create better content when the industry knows they can simply hype the next half-assed thing that comes along.
Consider what people spend on music, films and books that they end up disliking. If this money weren‚Äôt wasted on inferior material, the collective audience would have more to spend on the artists that they love. The arts would flourish because money would be properly distributed to artists based on quality instead of filling the coffers of the already rich non-creators that control the hype industry.
(three - art for all)
Art should be for all, not for those who can afford it. Contribute when you can, if you can. Don‚Äôt feel guilty if you can‚Äôt contribute to every artist who you‚Äôve enjoyed. Instead, be proud to contribute at a level that is comfortable to you both ethically and financially. If you have the means, by all means go above and beyond and generously support a few artists to ensure they can continue to create new work.
(four - support the artist)
There are some great, artist-friendly distributors around (CD Baby is a perfect example) but for the most part the culture industry is stacked against the artist. The perils of the music industry are well known, but the book publishing industry can be just as bad, if not worse.
We believe the money should go to the artist, not obsolete middle men hanging on to antiquated distribution paradigms. Period.
(five - dreams come true)
We believe this will work.
The corporations that currently have a strangle hold on our culture are not equipped for the impact of technology. They can not and will not adapt, for their profit lies in the realm of control and information consolidation, not freedom and information dissemination. We have the opportunity to reclaim our culture and we need to take it.
We believe a better system is for the audience to be under the honor system to contribute to those artists who have enriched their lives and to shun those who have wasted their time.
This is why we at Another Sky Press provide the entirety of our works online for free. We make no demands on our audience, we simply request that if you enjoy what we offer you that you show this via contributing to our authors or directly to us. We believe in you, and we can only hope you believe in us. Read more on neo-patronage.