Think Global, Print Local: A New Commons-Based Publishing Model

Some enterprising commoners in Spain and Latinamerica have launched an imaginative crowdfunding campaign to translate and publish my book Think Like a Commoner in Spanish.  What makes this publishing initiative so distinctive is its ambition to build a new transnational publishing network that is commons-oriented in content as well as practice.  They call it “Think Global, Print Local.” 

The plan is to translate my book into Spanish and then use small-scale printing and distribution to publish the book in Spain and throughout Latin America. -- initially Peru, Argentina and Mexico, to be followed later in other locations.  The Spanish edition of my book will be entitled Pensar desde los comunes: una breve introducción.

It is difficult for a project this innovative to obtain financing, so the organizers have launched a crowdfunding campaign this week through the Spain-based Goteo website.  I’m thrilled to have my book be the focus of this pathbreaking translation/publishing experiment.  I'm also excited about having my short introduction to the commons accessible to the Spanish-speaking world! 

The “claymation” video by Espacio Abierto of Peru, explaining the project, is particularly wonderful, especially the animated clay rendition of me!  If you go to the Goteo website for the campaign, you can watch the video, learn more about the project and contribute to it.  It's off to a strong start, but it needs to minimally raise 8.042 euros -- 10,602 euros is optimum.

The organizers of the project are Guerrilla Translation and Traficantes de Sueños in Madrid, Spain; Sursiendo in Chiapas, México; La Libre de Barranco in Lima, Peru; Tinta Limón in Buenos Aires, Argentina – with support from Goteo in Madrid. A special thanks to Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel for their hard work in making this project happen.

The team explains its plans in this way:

We want to pioneer a new mode of artisanal, decentralized text translation and international book distribution and publishing. This model makes the best use of the digital knowledge commons by freely offering the translated text online while printing and distributing hard-copy books at the local level through nodes in various locations. In this way we avoid centralized production and environmentally unsustainable international shipping….[The project] will help build bridges across languages and cultures, and enable concrete, material commoning practices. For this reason, we urge our English-speaking and indeed all multi-lingual friends to join us in supporting this groundbreaking effort.

Let's help this new effort in international commoning and publishing.  It would be great to bypass the costs, inefficiencies and commercial limitations of conventional publishing (something I discuss at greater length here).  Let's think global, print local!