Aziz Isham did not intend to get into retailing. Instead, ReKiosk, the online storefront he cofounded that started up last week—it currently offers only music and books—came out of conversations he had been having with independent publishers. All of them, he said, expressed frustration over the lack of online storefronts where they could sell their titles.
Isham, who has a background in media and television—he runs a digital publishing company called Arcade Sunshine Media (one completed project is an enhanced e-book of Moby Dick)—wanted to recreate the feel of certain indie record labels and independent presses with ReKiosk. The site, which sells DRM-free files only, is intended to allow independent publishers and artists to sell their own work, as well as the work of others.
Membership is free, and those who join can set up a “kiosk,” or personal storefront, through which they can sell up to 15 products. For an independent press or a self-published author, a direct sale offers a 95%–5% split, with ReKiosk taking the tiny cut. Users who create a kiosk can also resell products they’ve enjoyed, taking a small cut. The reselling process, through which the reseller takes a smaller cut of the sale (as well as the creator), Isham said,t allows those who create kiosks to function like indie bookstores/publishers of yore, places, Isham elaborated, where you would walk in and be able to buy music or books curated and created by the people running the shop. Through the different split scales, creators take at least 70% of every sale, and resellers take 25%—with ReKiosk taking its 5% slice.
The site, which Isham created with his sister, Darya (who has a background in finance and handles all business operations at the Brooklyn-based startup) has already courted a cadre of independent publishers, including O/R Books, Grove Atlantic, and Seven Stories Press.
Thus far, ReKiosk is relying on press attention to spread the word about the company. Users who open a kiosk—Isham foresees tastemakers (like book bloggers and online music critics) joining the site—can place a widget to their storefront on their own Web site. And for those who want to sell more than 15 items, a $17.99 monthly membership allows you to move limitless items through the site.