Interview with Sarah Lopez, Lantz Arroyo, and Nicholas Hurd
How did Radix Media start?
Radix Media started out as a commercial printer in Portland, Oregon back in 2010. The cooperative has been through many iterations, merging with other printers and going through several members. Our last big change was when we merged with Wasp Poster & Print in 2017. That’s the same year that we decided to focus on expanding our publishing program.
Tell us a bit about Radix Media. What are your influences, your aesthetic, your mission?
We’re influenced by the old school printers and their legacy of radical politics. The three of us love print and everything related to the medium, but we’re also committed to social justice. Our mission as a publisher is to publish new ideas and fresh perspectives, prioritizing the voices of typically marginalized communities to get to the root of the human experience.
Can you give us a preview of what’s current and/or forthcoming from your catalog, as well as what you’re hoping to publish in the future?
We’re currently in the midst of Futures: A Science Fiction Series. Futures explores critical contemporary issues in an imagined future. There are seven short stories, and we’re publishing them as standalone chapbooks. We’re proud to say that the stories cover a lot of different topics and we have a wide range of authors. Folks can subscribe to the series on our website or buy the chapbooks individually.
We used to ask, “What about small/independent press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?” We’re still interested in the answer to that, but we’re even more interested to know what you think needs to change.
There’s been a lot of talk about people not getting paid, or not being paid enough. We’d say that’s one of the biggest things that need to change. Artists are workers, and so are the people who support these communities. It’s seen as superfluous, but art is an integral part of society. Basically we think that the way money is distributed in publishing in general needs to change. It affects access to the industry and who can work in it.
How do you cope? There’s been a lot of conversation lately about charging reading fees, printing costs, rising book costs, who should pay for what, etc. Do you have any opinions on this, and would you be willing to share any insights about the numbers at Radix Media?
Our situation is a bit different than that of most publishers since we’re also a commercial print shop. So that’s really what pays our overhead and salaries. Reading fees are a hot-button topic and we don’t have a super strong opinion on them since we’re not a literary magazine. We see why people charge them, though we recognize that it restricts access to people who can pay them. It’s more a symptom of the larger issue, which is that the way the publishing industry is structured as a whole isn’t sustainable.