I saw an article about the Concord Free Press the other day and was intrigued. How can a press give away books for free? Yet, this is what they do. All that they ask is that you make a donation (of any amount) to someone else, post it on their website, and then pass the book along to someone else.
So, I checked out their website. They refer to their project as "An Ongoing Experiment in Generosity." The writers don't get paid, the graphic designer doesn't get paid and they get reduced printing costs. They do accept donations to help offset the costs involved and sell some related items in order to raise funds.
Honestly, I have mixed feelings on this. The writers don't get paid. Now, I am the first to acknowledge that (most) writers don't make much. I wrote for free for years before starting to get even a small amount of payment for my work. Those of us who write do so out of love (and perhaps necessity - the words have to come out) first and the hope of remuneration second, but still, it's nice to have that hope. And on principle, I feel that writers should be paid. We work hard. We earn it. And, like everyone else we have bills to pay.
Still, I can understand the desire to have someone read one's words and this vehicle provides an audience. In addition, the writers retain the rights and have the ability to traditionally publish at a later date. And I understand the gift of generosity. In one way or another, the universe (God) rewards it. In light of the big picture, it usually pays off.
All in all, it is an intriguing concept. I wonder if it is something we Catholic writers could do in order to help promote and share our words and our works?