free books – a small revolution

So I’ve been totally blown away by this thing called the Concord Free Press. The brainchild of author Stona Fitch, basically it’s a small press where everyone works for free, from writer to editor to designer to printer. Then they print books and give them away for free, only asking that recipients give money to a local charity and pass the book on. So far they’ve made over $30,000 from one book in the first few months, fucking amazing, really. 

The first novel was Stona’s own Give & Take, a brilliant and resonant story about a touring jazz musician who steals BMWs and diamonds from the rich and gives the proceeds to the poor.

The whole thing is kinda completely inspirational, it made me think about books and money and publishing in an entirely new light. Really. It’s hard to talk about without sounding hippy wanky, but I think Stona could be on to something here, a small revolution in the way we think about how artists interact with the world.

It helps that Fitch is a fucking amazing writer. Check out Senseless and Printers’ Devil for two of the finest novels written this decade. Not for the faint hearted, either of them, but simply amazing.

Here’s a thing I wrote about it all for the Independent on Sunday, which does a better job of summing it up than I’ve done here, what with being for a proper paper and all. 

As for Concord, they’ve got a second novel lined up for May, I’m already keeping tabs on the website to reserve my copy.

 Free books, whatever the fuck next, eh?

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About doug johnstone

I like whisky
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