Our friends/allies/role models over at Ugly Duckling Presse have launched an interesting new endeavor: GIVING THEIR BOOKS AWAY FOR FREE!
On America’s Independence Day, while you were laying on your back in a pool of drunken patriotic ennui, UDP started posting free PDFs of some of the life-changing, intellectually-affirming works of poetry and prose they put out.
For those fine folks who may not yet know who or what Ugly Duckling Presse is, UDP is a nonprofit indie publisher in Brooklyn (in the same building as Archipelago!) run by a couple of artsy Russkys whom I love and adore deeply–they put out seriously gorgeous books (like the books themselves are beautiful and wonderful to the touch) by seriously great poets from all over the world, American and Russian and British and folks from just about everywhere, poets like Cole Swensen and Noel Black and Kirill Medvedev and Vsevolod Nekrasov (and the list could go on and on).
According to UDP’s official press release, at the bequest of one of their authors, Noel Black, they will be making their books available for free download, to increase the market for their books, sure, but to increase the number of readers for the amazing independent works of poetry and literature they put out, HELL YES!!
In an effort to increase readership and accessibility, Ugly Duckling Presse has decided to offer PDF “documentation” of most of our full-length books for free download on our site. Though identical to the published books in design and content, the files will be formatted as page-spread proofs, easy to print for reading or classroom use. A head-note on each PDF will explain UDP’s commitment to accessibility through the free dissemination of “publisher’s proofs” and encourage readers to continue to purchase books (physical and electronic) from independent publishers via ethical channels. We expect that the result of this will be more visibility for the work, and that everyone—authors, translators, readers, and UDP —will ultimately benefit.
The first five titles available (with links from UDP’s site), including, I must add, one in translation by Valentina Saracini (UDP publishes a hell of a lot of poetry in translation, it has to be more than just about anybody, I should check the Three Percent database of translations but I’m lazy):
Uselysses (Noel Black) — GET PDF | more info/buy book
Notes on Conceptualisms (Vanessa Place and Robert Fitterman) — GET PDF | more info/buy book
Walking Across a Field We Are Focused on at This Time Now (Sara Wintz) — GET PDF | more info/buy book
Thank You for the Window Office (Maged Zaher) — GET PDF | more info/buy book
Dreaming Escape (Valentina Saracini, translated by Erica Weitzman et al) — GET PDF | more info/buy book
Noel Black and UDP’s Anna Moschovakis posted an interesting, in-depth exchange of ideas about what the free distribution of PDF books could mean for small, indie publishers and authors in Black’s “ANNOTATED manifesto for the .PDF press”, hosted on his blog/journal, The New Heave Ho. Definitely check out the discussion for a look at what kind of thinking goes into a project like this.
So for now, check out a free book from Ugly Duckling, if you dig it, you can buy it, or you can buy a different awesome book they put out. I recommend ALL OF THEM. Start with the pdf of Noel Black’s Uselysses and work your way down the list of free books and then go buy all the unfree ones or check them out of your library or ASK YOUR LIBRARY TO BUY THEM and then you can read it and so can your whole community!!!!!!!!!!
Check out the Ugly Duckling site for more info and check back regularly (or follow them on Twitter) for more updates on available titles!
So cool to see an indie press experiment with this…UGLY DUCKLING, DEEP VELLUM LOVES YOU!