A change is coming up.
Since June 2015, Khaos Publishing’s webshop has been a platform through which artists and independent publishers have been able to distribute their publications, and a place for people to discover and order alternative books and zines.
After more than half a decade, the webshop will be shut down at the end of this strange year of 2020. Khaos will continue operating as an independent publisher and focus even more strongly on this core.
Shutting down the webshop has been a difficult decision to make, but it is a necessary one. Khaos has always first and foremost been an independent publishing house, even though a lot of our work has been put into our webshop in an active attempt to stimulate the local independent publishing scene.
Khaos’ webshop has been the only collected digital platform in Finland for independently publishing artists and authors to sell their publications. It is amazing that the platform has offered a place for hundreds of titles (currently more than 160 in webshop of which most are out of stock already) and even more titles have been sold in the tiny physical shop at Kosminen art space.
For years, running Khaos’ webshop was the most interesting thing I could imagine. Meeting a diverse range of authors and artists, reading and flipping through countless publications – none of this would have happened without the shop. Thank you for all the artists & authors throughout the years. <3
The joy of discovering new things and the enjoyment of books and zines is still there. But (but!) the burden of the practical labour involved has grown too heavy. Replying to emails (sorry for all the delayed responses…), photographing the products, updating the webshop, going to the post office (this one is pure pain!), managing the paperwork involved in paying the artists their share, etc. Doing all this work without financial support from grants or other outside funding while simultaneously living one’s personal life with various commitments and obligations has become too much.
Selling independent publications has never been very profitable, and I doubt it ever will be. At its best, the revenue of the webshop has covered the costs of upkeeping it as well as bank transaction fees and such, but it has never been enough to cover the time and labor that has been put into it.
As a principle, I believe that artists should receive a proper share of the profits of their work also when distribution and sales have been “outsourced”. However, I also believe that all labor should be paid. The very low retail prices (usually ranging between 5 and 20 euros) of the products in the Khaos webshop combined with our decision to pay artists and publishers 70% of the profits has meant that the running of the platform has not been possible without a huge amount of unpaid labor.
I am of the opinion that the prices of books and zines couldn’t and shouldn’t be raised. The field of arts and culture is already a place largely dominated by privilege. We need to nourish a culture in which everybody is welcomed and encouraged to publish their work and in which publications are affordable to as large an audience as possible.
I very strongly believe that the kind of platform that Khaos has provided for the past five years SHOULD exist in Finland. Even more strongly I believe that this kind of project should be properly funded. I also feel that ideally it should operate independently rather than under a publisher’s name.
Khaos Publishing was officially established in 2014, with it’s first title published in 2015 and the webshop for independent publishers starting to operate in June 2015. Since February 2016, Khaos has also run a tiny physical bookshop at the art space Kosminen in Helsinki, first for three years on Eerikinkatu and currently on Pursimiehenkatu. This, too, has been possible only due to unpaid labor from everybody involved. The rent of the old space on Eerikinkatu was split equally between Khaos and the Kosminen collective members, whereas the rent of the new space in the Punavuori district is funded with a grant from the Kone Foundation. Without this grant – which was received by Kosminen – neither Kosminen nor Khaos’ shop would have had the financial capacity to continue up to this day.
The Finland of today is a better place for independent publishing than it was in 2015. People are doing their thing and organising fairs, events, workshops… It has been a pleasure to have played a small part in this evolution and a joy to follow up the current lively scene.
Khaos will continue its work as an independent publisher. We very much hope to see new and successful platforms for artists and independent publishers emerge as we end this chapter. Btw the latest publication by Khaos, Wasted Years – Sad, sexy, and artist-run edited by Sorbus is VERY GOOD and you should read it as soon as possible.
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
And last but definitely not least – there are many people I wish to thank for the past years:
Firstly, I want to thank Helen Korpak for walking through all these years with true perception and understanding on so many matters. You are someone to trust with your insight and as someone of whom you can always ask and be sure the get a well thought answer. Thank you talented & proficient Antti Grundstén for the first vision back in the beginning of having a webshop like this in the first place(!), and the awesome first logo of Khaos. It served well. As the publishing profile has changed, so has the logo. Thank you Samuli Saarinen for the current one. Thank you Photobooks from Finland and especially Johannes Romppanen for being part of the beginning at Eerikinkatu. Thank you Tuukka Kaila for setting up an example of publishing quality prints with an insight (Rooftop press <3) and for many very insightful discussions. Thank you, thank you, thank you all Kosminen gang (Liina Aalto-Setälä, Lotta Blomberg, Anna Niskanen and Helen Korpak) for making the bookshop possible and for overall HUGE support and good times over the years.
And of course THANK YOU all publishers, artists and authors. It has been a pleasure to work with you and your publications. <3
Where to get Khaos’ publications after 2020:
Amos Rex, Helsinki
Sammakon kirjakauppa, Turku
Galleria Rajatila, Tampere
Laukontorin antikvariaatti, Tampere
Some titles also from Akateeminen kirjakauppa and Rosebud.
Most of the Khaos’ own titles are to be found also in libraries. And if not, you can make a purchase request to your library.
Resellers can contact firstname.lastname@example.org, Kirjavälitys for Booky.fi for wholesale orders.