The Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for ‘Roads Were Not Built For Cars’ ends tomorrow and looks set to exceed £16,000 despite the fact the full text for the book will be given away free on the blog-of-the-book. The history book is due to be published in August and is the work of BikeBiz executive editor Carlton Reid.
The limited print run Kickstarter edition will be self-published by Reid but he has revealed that a major US publisher got in touch asking for the rights to publish the book traditionally.
"I’m not too sure that deal will come off," said Reid. "The approach was from a large and well-known American publisher and they were surprised when I said any deal would have to involve giving the text away for free. Such an ‘open source’ approach hasn’t yet been fully embraced by traditional book publishers."
So why, if the book is to be given away for free, have 587 people pledged cash to back Reid’s project on Kickstarter?
"The free version will be a PDF backed by trade advertising. It won’t feature any interactive features and won’t include any of the hundreds of period photographs I’ve sourced," said Reid. "The Kickstarter print and iPad and Kindle editions will be lavishly illustrated, and ad-free."
On the Guardian Bike Blog, ‘Captainstegs’ said an article about the book was "mainly about advertising a book…[but] my opinion changed somewhat when it was revealed in the last couple of paragraphs that the book would be available for free electronically.
"Giving away ones hard work in the hope of educating and changing the behaviour of those who use Britain’s roads is a decidedly philanthropic action that deserves all the promotion it can get."
The Kickstarter campaign for Roads Were Not Built For Cars ends at 10.16pm on Saturday.