23 Jul 2007
I was just listening to episode 10 of Writers Talking (yes, I subscribe to something like a thousand RSS feeds), which was about Alternative Publishing featuring Evo Terra of podiobooks.com and Kristopher Young of Another Sky Press. I have written before about why the publishing industry needs to change, and how that will happen, so I think this stuff is really cool. I won’t talk too much about Podiobooks, as it seems they have good web presence and if you want to know more, visit their site. That leaves Another Sky Press.
Basically, Another Sky Press was described on the show as merit-based publishing, or as they call it on their site, neo-patronage. How it works is they sell all of their books at cost (they also release their stuff online for free), and then the reader is able (at any time) to contribute an additional amount, which is then split up between the people who worked on the book.
My understanding is that a mainstream press offers a new author basically three things: the book gets professionally edited, the book gets professionally designed (including jacket design and typesetting) and the book gets distributed. It looks like they do offer editing services, and I would be surprised if they didn’t do a good job, but there would be no way for me to know without reading some of their stuff (which I intend to do in the near future). That they also publish art books makes me optimistic about the presentation that their books have, especially since there are so many covers out there that are just bad (I actively dislike the majority of genre covers that I see, I would be happier with nice text and maybe a simple logo most of the time). The books look nice on the site, so I have faith that they will look nice in person as well (these people don’t seem to be of the sort to do things halfway). As for the distribution, I think that they have their act together. Overall, this looks like a good thing.
As for how this changes my view of the future of the industry, it doesn’t. I still think that the future lies mostly in using inexpensive paperbacks and e-books to sell nice limited editions like Subterranean Press does, and it would be cool to see ASP do something like this, but that is something that would obviously have to wait until they get a bigger audience/market going.
P.S. - Caldera 7 will be out later today.