What Is Your Business Model?
If we had a dollar for every time someone asked that question, we wouldn’t need a business model. We’d be taking the money home in bags.
It’s simple. We’re not proposing a new business model for publishing. We’re a non-profit organization interested in:
- expanding the definition of publishing
- exploring the connection between people and books, and
- inspiring new levels of engagement among readers.
Like any non-profit, we keep our expenses incredibly low (e.g., our office rent is not exactly Manhattan-esque). Writers, designers, printers, and others generously donate their work and services for free. Our press runs are fairly short—2,500 copies or so—making our books limited editions. And to pay for it all, we ask people who like what we’re doing to support us via grants, checks, and the occasional wad of cash.
In short, we are freed from the burden of profitability. That said, though our books don’t generate traditional profits, they create real value:
- Writers get a chance to get their work to readers via an interesting new channel, one that can help them sell commercial US rights, foreign rights, film rights, etc.
- Readers get a great book for free and a chance to be part of an experiment in publishing and community
- Charities and people in need receive real support from generous readers—who turn their good intentions into cash donations
The bottom line? Our books generate about $45,000 - $50,000 per title in donations (and that's only the donations people tell us about). Factoring in our costs (mainly printing/postage), that’s an ROI of more than 800% – even though others, more in need than us, received that money. And each book keeps going, generating more generosity along the way.