Saturday, 21 April 2012

Generosity Publishing

Have you heard about Concord Free Press? It’s a Massachusetts-based experiment in generosity publishing and it’s really got my attention. So much so that I signed up to be sent a (free) copy of their most recent book, which is a collection of short stories called Round Mountain by Castle Freeman Jr. In return, I was asked to donate some money to charity and record it on the website. Which I was happy to do. The idea is you then pass the book on to someone else (for free), and they also read and donate, before passing it on again, and so on and so on. 

It’s a simple idea with a huge heart, and it’s impossible to fault their ethos. Writers donate their prose, Concord covers the costs of print publishing (currently with Kodak), readers donate to charity, and the world is just a fraction brighter as a result. And as Concord says on its website: “We’re not proposing free books as a cure for what ails modern publishing. That would be stupid.” But a glance at its website shows that people really are donating as a result of reading their free books, which is surely good news.

How does Concord do it? Well, there’s also the Concord ebooks arm, and the profits from sales of these help fund the free books and postage (I was taken aback to see my free book, posted to me in the UK from the US, cost more than $10 just to post – yikes). But even the sold ebooks originate from a good place – with profits being split 50/50 between the author and publisher. Which is a significantly better deal than authors usually receive. Trust me, I’m a soon-to-be-published author!

And what of the books themselves? If they’re free, are they even any good? Well, I’ve only read Round Mountain so far, but it was fantastic.

Here’s the blurb: “In the backwoods towns of Round Mountain, time circles like a winding road. Friends disappear and show up again, older if not wiser. Small incidents – a night of drinking, a robbery, a strange visitor from Canada – loom larger as the decades pass. And over time, the true colours of every man, woman and child become known to all.”
Click here to find out more about the Concord Free Press.

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