L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Distributing Service (catalog, c. 1978)

Around 1978, Bruce Andrews, Ron Silliman and I  started a service to make xerox copies of out of print work available. The catalog began with this introduction:


Even when published, writing we wish to read often goes out of print with dismaying rapidity – closing off a dialogue. Out-of-print and unpublished works may still circulate among a limited circle of friends. Here, we hope to sustain that dialogue, and expand that circle.

 Several types of material are available. Photocopies of out-of-print books and unpublished manuscripts are available at the cost of the photocopying and packaging plus a twenty-five cent royalty to the author. These works will be sent side-stapled with card stock covers, stamped by L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E and numbered. In a few cases, a small number of books are available in their original published form at the price specified. All orders must be prepaid and include the cost of postage (see table below).

 –– Charles Bernstein, Ron Silliman, & Bruce Andrews

pdf of the catalog

The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Distributing Service preceded the Segue Distribution Service, which was a much more elaborate operation, in which we distributed  new books.  As part of the he L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Distributing Service I also brought magazines and books to local New York bookstores such as St. Marks, High Times, Books & Co., SoHo Books, mostly on a consignment basis, which, of course, made it hard to collect; but this was the only way to get these books and magazines into the stores. I kept a ledger of the few sales, made the xeroxes on print-on-demand basis (avant la lettre) at the local xerox store, and mailed out the nominal royalty checks to the poets. And yes, you could have gotten Johanna Drucker's letterpress A to Z for $20.

See also Danny Snelson's essay that that includes a discussion of the distributing service.