In class, we discussed the importance of having the book “Criptiques” self-published and the effect that would have on the reception of the book. While I agree with much that was said during class, I thought I would voice my opinion in a blog post this week.
First, I think it is important to talk about access to the book. By self-publishing the book, the authors were not only able to keep the cost of purchasing a physical copy of the book down, but were also able to offer the book for free online. By offering the book for free or for a very low price, the authors are allowing so many people to access the book that wouldn’t have otherwise been able to access the book. Many individuals with disabilities, because of some of the institutional biases discussed in the book, cannot afford to purchase a pricey book. If the authors had approached a publisher in order to have their book published, it is likely that the price in printing and selling the book would be much more expensive, and many individuals with disabilities would not be able to purchase the book. The stories in the book are about people with disabilities, by people with disabilities, and in many ways, for people with disabilities. Many of the stories are empowering for individuals with disabilities and show individuals with disabilities that they have a community of support that involves individuals who experience the same types of discrimination. For those reasons, it is very important that individuals with disabilities be able to access the book. However, individuals with disabilities are just one target audience for the book. The book is also important for individuals without disabilities. This book challenges many of the ableist notions that individuals without disabilities hold, yet does it in a way that is interesting to read. Individuals without disabilities would benefit from reading this book by understanding the effect that actions taken by everyone within society have on individuals with disabilities. I think that individuals without disabilities, especially those that would benefit from the type of education this book provides, would be more likely to read the book if it is offered for free online. Therefore, the entire society benefits from self-publishing this book.
As we had discussed in class, there is one downside to self-publishing. Often times, people don’t see the book as being as legitimate as a book from a reputable publisher would be seen as being. This can become a substantial barrier particularly in the education context, where many academics would be hesitant to use a book that did not go through the standard publishing process in teaching students. There is almost an assumption, which is unfounded in my opinion, that a self-published book is less important or less informative. However, the stories in this book are informative about issues facing individuals with disabilities and are important in spreading a message regarding disability discrimination. However, in my opinion, the benefits of self-publishing outweigh the costs. Ultimately, I think that self-publishing the book sends a message outside of the book’s content: the authors aren’t interested in making money off of the book but are instead interested in educating society on the experiences and issues for people with disabilities.