In a nutshell, it hosts out-of-print and out-of-circulation books by Irish authors, in digital form, but under a Creative Commons licence/license. Check the website or the Creative Commons FAQ if youâ€™d like to know more about the legal bit.
Itâ€™s a slow process getting a book online, as I discovered with The Fabulists, but Patrick and I have been bowled over by the enthusiastic response from writers, and indeed from everyone whoâ€™s commented so far.
With some writers, itâ€™s not just scanning in (or in Sara Berkeleyâ€™s case, typing in) the book. Thereâ€™s also in many cases – especially where it is out-of-circulation rather than out-of-print – the question of getting permission from publishers. We hope publishers will respond in the same enlightened way that Anthony Farrell of Lilliput Press did when I asked him for permission to post The Fabulists online, and indeed, so far Pat Boran of Dedalus and Jessie Lendennie of Salmon Publishing and Dennis Greig of Lapwing have expressed strong interest. Itâ€™s often a question of practicalities – some books will be suitable and others not – but as long as the goodwill is there, it will happen despite difficulties.
So there are just several rather than several dozen writers on the site so far, but we believe this is going to be much bigger, and in the vanguard of a worldwide movement.
Weâ€™re not in it to make money out of the site, although we wonâ€™t object if individual readers buy our books on the strength of what they find there.
Thatâ€™s the beauty of it. The books are available for free download in digital form, but in some cases there are books still in publishersâ€™ warehouses, and indeed, most authors have current titles available from bookshops, or at least online at amazon, Kennys, readireland, and bookirish, the online store of the great Books Upstairs. (Unfortunately the latter is still down due to a revamp.).
Then one evening, discussing how the idea would be much stronger with more Irish writers involved, we brainstormed and came up with Irish Literary Revival.
There are other books, mostly science fiction, out there for free download, but we think our idea is unique as such.
We can foresee the day when publishers will be delighted to release hard-copy books simultaneously with free digital copies as a publicity generator, just as musicians are doing now, but that may be a few years down the road.
However, the revolution starts here.