- (one – it makes sense)
- (two – the audience is the sole arbitrator of value)
- (three – art for all)
- (four – support the artist)
- (five – dreams come true)
- (in conclusion)
We want people to read our books, even if they read them for free. This isn’t anything revolutionary – unless your local librarian is a subversive of the highest order.
To best accomplish this goal we release all of our books online for free. Because we know how good ‘real’ books feel in your hands, we also price our trade-paperbacks via a sliding scale system in which the base price is the cost for us to ship you a book (we don’t make a penny) and you set the final price by choosing what you’d like to contribute (if anything) to the creative team behind it (most of which goes to the author). You can’t ever be ripped off. We call this pro-artist, pro-audience system neo-patronage.
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’t 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 ‘pure’ 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’s no way to know the answers until it’s 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’ve decided to flow with it. Rather than ‘protect’ our ‘intellectual property’ with DRM and other consumer-unfriendly practices, we’re offering it all for free. Rather than fight against P2P and related technologies, we’ll 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’re 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 ‘product’ is actually any good. As a result we’ve 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’t care whether or not you liked the movie/book/cd – you’ve 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’t 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’t feel guilty if you can’t contribute to every artist who you’ve 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.
Embrace the future.
Support what you love.
Thank you for reading,
Another Sky Press