Pay-what-you-want Books

Writers don’t write to live, they live to write.  Too many of us writers have grown complacent with the idea that the goal of writing is to build a career.  The reason many of us started writing was because we wanted to say just one true thing to even just one person who might be reading us, and to say it in the most perfectly written way for that reader at that moment.  It’s easy for anyone to loose focus and to forget about the passions that were once so important and motivating.

I don’t write in order to one day, 30 years from now, be able to live a secluded existence in a New Hampshire cabin with my old typewriter and a bookshelf.  I write to communicate something to those who want to listen.

The proliferation of the worldwide web has made this possibility all the more easy for writers who share this desire.

The “gatekeepers” who once filtered through writers, choosing only select styles and opinions have in many ways grown so obsolete that they’ve lost their influence over some writers.  The decision makers who chose markets, style, price and appearance in order to determine target readership have been pushed aside as well.

For writers like me, this should be welcomed as a great change.  But, just like any other great change, the status quo is almost unquestioningly upheld until a change attracts enough momentum.  Still in the year 2010, published writers seem to be the staunchest opponents to change.  They and their readers have much to gain by experimenting with these new technologies.

In the fall of 2007, with the release of its album In Rainbows, Radiohead joined the list of  pioneers of pay-what-you-want online music. Time points to this fact in this article and ominously paints Radiohead’s decision as a dangerous Pandora’s box. Much has been written about their decision to share their music with their listeners in this format.

Because of advancements in technology writers and readers can now easily and inexpensively find each other on the internet without the “help” of the gatekeepers of the past.

Against the good judgment of quite a few fellow writers, I am placing my first book Somewhere between Bratislava and DC (Samizdat, 2006) online in a pay-what-you-want format.  If you’d like to pay $0 or $100, I welcome you to pay what you’d like.  Just click here to check out and to download the book.  I’m proud of this book and would like to share it with as many people as I can.  I welcome you to do the same.  Share it freely and widely.  It’s on dusty shelves that books grow old and die.

I welcome you to click here and download one of the world’s first pay-what-you-want books.  It’s a method that has a long future because of the way that it omits the gatekeepers and puts readers and writers in direct contact.  By downloading this book in this format, you are announcing your role as a part of a revolution over how literature is moved from writer to reader.


– A.S.

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