Thursday, August 2, 2012

Q&A with Aziz Isham of

reKiosk is not like any other online marketplace you’ve seen. With this new site, now in beta with a launch planned for August, you act as your own distributor for your favorite books and music, and instead of the marketplace eating up a big chunk of the payment, most of the profit goes to the creator, with a small slice for you. 
So say you buy your friend's ebook from their reKiosk page and share it on your own kiosk. If someone then buys the book through you, your friend gets 70 percent and you get 25 percent of the profit. It’s kind of like owning your own private store that only sells things you like, and it’s certainly a great venue for promoting self-publishing.

Aziz Isham
We talked to founder and CEO Aziz Isham to get the full scoop.

How is reKiosk different from other online marketplaces?
We were built with two things in mind: 1) How do we make an alternative marketplace that puts creatives in control and remunerates them for their work; and 2) How do we empower curators (bloggers, publishers, or aspiring digital storeowners) to become an active (and paid) part of the process. We found that if we keep things simple and take as small a portion of each sale as possible, we could do both of these things and still create a beautiful, engaging e-commerce experience.

What inspired the idea for the site?
You could say that I've been working on this project for the last decade, in various forms. Three of my four grandparents are artists, and I've always been attracted to business models that try to make creativity a more economically sustainable occupation for as many people as possible. We all have enough toaster ovens, but I've never met anyone who's got enough poetry.

Who would you say is the “average” reKiosk user?
Either a content provider (a musician, record label, publisher, or writer, for example) or a curator. One person or company could be both, of course. The average customer is probably someone who's already interested in independent media, as that's the lion's share of what's on the site right now, though we hope that might change in the not-too-distant future.

How do you think reKiosk will benefit writers?
Any easy-to-use marketplace that encourages smaller, curated marketplaces will benefit writers. Right now we have a huge market for front-list titles and lots of strong, small niche markets, but we're in danger of loosing the mid-list, and that’s really scary. Some of the best authors of the twentieth century were firmly mid-list—James Salter, Phillip Dick, and Mike Davis, to name a few personal favorites. Would any of these writers have viable careers in today's publishing landscape?

Where do you see reKiosk heading in the future?
Hard to say. We've had some great advance praise so far and a lot of interest from all sectors, but we're really hoping to become a way to usher in a new form of the independent, digital bookstore or record shop, the internet version of the great spaces you could once find in any mid-size town or city, but which have since been replaced by Walmarts and e-retailers.

Request an invite at to get a head-start before the site is fully open. The possibilities seem almost endless, and we definitely agree about not needing another toaster!

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