Opting for Nothing: Birkensnake Gives It Away
by ________Posted on August 21st, 2012 at 1:34 pm
The below text is from the “now-misleadingly-named” Buy page at the website for Birkensnake—and the above image is the cover for the recently-released Birkensnake 5, printed on what seems to be wallpaper (check out an issue to see):
We have been discussing the pricing of the print edition of Birkensnake. When we started Birkensnake in 2008 we did not sit down and think, OK, the crystallized social labor fixed in each copy plus operating costs equals price. We just thought we wanted to make it affordable and $4 seemed affordable. So we sold the first four issues for $4. The $4 has nothing to do with how many hours we spend producing Birkensnake or how much money we spend on things like paper and ink and thread and glue and Super 77. Lately we started wondering why we charge $4 at all. To offset our expenses just a little? To participate in the zine market so bookstores will carry Birkensnake on consignment? To equate Birkensnake in some way with the money form because money has acquired totemic power and people are suspicious of anything free? It became clear to us that we should either charge much more for Birkensnake or charge nothing. We have opted for nothing. Birkensnake 5 is priced at $0. As with the previous issues of Birkensnake we spent a long time making every copy of Birkensnake 5 by hand (with the help of many indefatigable comrades) and we feel excited by the stories we’re publishing. If you want to support Birkensnake by donating any amount of dollars at any time we support your doing that. We’d definitely appreciate financial help as we continue to come up with weird and unexpectedly expensive ways of printing awesome writing. We just started feeling silly putting a price tag on something as caustic to late capitalism and its glossy literatures as Birkensnake. Also we forgot to print a price on the cover.
All the other issues are free now too.