Pay It Forward: The Concord Free Press

I first heard of Concord Free Press in an Irish Times article back in November and was reminded of it more recently on Scott Pack’s blog, Me and My Big Mouth. I sent them an e-mail on Christmas Eve and on January 5, a lovely book arrived in the post.

And it was free.

The idea is both simple and revolutionary: every so often, Concord Free Press publishes a book. Their current publication is Rut by Scott Philips, author of The Ice Harvest. You request a copy of it from their website and they send it to for free. (Completely free; you don’t even pay for shipping, which is saying something considering that sending a slim paperback from Massachusetts to Cork costs $9!)

In return, you agree to:

  1. Make a charitable donation
  2. Tell them about your donation
  3. Pass the book on when you’re done.

The charitable donation can be to anyone, any place or any group, and you decide the amount. You can donate money to a registered charity, give a gift to a friend in need or help out a homeless person you pass by on the street – it’s completely up to you.

Recent examples from their website: Mike gave $250 to Habitat for Humanity, Suzanne gave $20 to a stranger for gas, Margaret of Cork (here!) gave €40 towards the repair of a church organ, Claire gave $5 to a homeless man selling copies of Spare Change magazine and Jimmy gave $25 to The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Then you tell them about it, and not because they’re going to check up on you or anything. They’d just like to know how well their idea is doing. (Nearly $200,000, so far.) Finally add your name to the list at the back of your book and pass it on – although it hurts, because the book is so pretty – to someone whom you know will do the same. Simples.

How do they do it? They all work for the love of it but of course still have to pay for producing the books and mailing them. They rely on donations, grants and the kindness of strangers. You can donate to them here. (I’m not sure if your free book donation can be back to them, but I don’t see why not…?)

So if you like the sound of Rut, why not hop on over there today, request a copy and be part of this new wave of generosity publishing. I’m guessing that since my book was numbered in the 2,500s and they only print 3,000 copies you might be a bit on the late side but if so, keep an eye for their next book.

(Of course, only do it if you plan on following the rules. Otherwise, it’s pretty much just stealing.)

If you’d like to be the person I pass Rut onto – keeping in mind you’ll have to pass it on too AND make a charitable donation, message me via the Contact page. If more than one person wants it, names in a hat, etc.

Click here to read all Catherine’s Bookshelf posts.

One thought on “Pay It Forward: The Concord Free Press

  1. Bridget Whelan says:

    Amazing idea — I’m going to blog about it and send people over here to find out more but I will let you pass on the book to someone near by (I’m right – you’re in the great city of Cork, aren’t you? I did an author visit at a Cork library a year ago and had the best time. I’d say you’d have no problem finding avid & generous readers around the corner)

Ah, go on. Tell me what you think...

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