Laniakea Books is a publishing house in London, England, which publishes public domain books only.
Public domain books are books which their author has relinquished all copyrights and allows everyone to change, remix, share, sell any modifications of these books.
Inspiration for Laniakea Books comes from childhood.
When I was a kid I learned there is this thing called patents. If you think of something first, the story goes, you can force everyone else to pay just because you told the official office that it was you who thought of it first. Ridiculous; I thought. There is no way this is true.
Then, as a kid still, I learned about this other thing called intellectual property. That story is, if someone writes a song or a book or anything else that is a form of concepts, then whoever wants to do something with it needs to ask for permission from them. This includes changing it but also even sharing it or giving it away. This can’t be true, I thought again. How can one limit me from singing a song at the park I heard earlier?
Today, I am still of the same mind. Intellectual property doesn’t make sense. What makes sense is to stop trying to limit ideas about ideas. What makes sense is for all intangible creations of the human intellect to be free.
One might want to write a public domain book. Once we're given a text, we produce a paperback book and a digital book (pdf and epub formats).
To do this, we design the covers and typeset the text. We code and compile the digital files. We collaborate with printing companies to print the dead-trees version. Finally, we distribute in select London bookstores. The author pays the printers for printing—depending on how many copies they want—and that’s it. The author does not pay for any other work Laniakea Books does. We provide it for free.
See more here: laniakeabooks.org/how-it-works/
But this makes no sense. Indeed, it does not. It makes no sense in a transactional economy, that is. But Laniakea Books operates in a gift economy. In a gift economy, this is a rational service to offer.
The world doesn’t work in a gift economy, one could argue. But we want to, so we pretend-participate in one. We LARP. We fake it till we make it. It doesn’t matter what we call it. We write our own stories and then we act in them. Even if the stories are fiction, our work is real.
A first book
The first project of Laniakea Books LTD is Letters from Prison: On societal freedom. It's mostly texts I've written for this blog the past couple of years.