:: Buzzwords

Five for: Bookkake’s James Bridle


1) Can I ask you about the name? Do you want to explain Bookkake , or shall I?

“Bukkake” is a Japanese term for a particularly filthy sex act, yet is has become surprisingly well-known. You’d be amazed how many people know what it means. I liked this aspect of surprise, and the inquisitiveness of those who don’t know, as well as the taboo. If we all know what it means, why the coyness? For me it embodies all the strange contradictions of eroticism, and the power of language itself.

2) You used to work for Snowbooks; what made you want to strike out on your own? And why to publish db’s in particular?

Well, Bookkake is still not a full-time job, and doesn’t (yet) pay me a salary. But I’ve always wanted to work for myself, and I had a lot of ideas I wanted to try out. I’m particularly interested in the intersection of literature and new technology (which I write about at Booktwo.org) and I wanted to put my money where my mouth is with a few of my assertions, which is why Bookkake uses a novel publishing and distribution model. When it came to choosing what books to publish, I needed to start with out-of-copyright books, and I chose what I loved, in a niche that I thought would work with individuals, the web, and independent bookstores.

3) Bookkake’s first five titles are, indeed, “mould-breaking, exciting, and unafraid.” How did you decide on them? And what sort of reactions have they gotten so far?

Some of them I had in mind already as among my favourites, and others were suggested by friends. I canvassed a lot of people, and came up with the opening five. There were a few others on the list, but they were unavailable for various reasons. The reaction has been fantastic: people who had a narrow view of erotic literature – even literature in general – have found them beguiling, fascinating, terrifying and even (intentionally) hilarious. Some of my straightest friends have come back for more.


4) Bookkake works to very high standards: you’ve designed new covers, reset the type and commissioned introductions from the likes of Stewart Home, Tom McCarthy & Supervert. With this much effort why, then, make Bookkake’s titles also available as free e-books?

I’m a huge fan of ebooks, and read this way regularly, but I don’t feel the reading experience they offer is yet on a sufficient par with traditional books to offer them at any great price, and I also don’t feel there’s much overlap between those looking for ebooks and those who’d pay for the paper edition. There are also many free ebook editions of these works available already. I therefore feel it’s worth it to offer my free, higher-quality ebooks to those who prefer to read that way, and who may become evangelists for the imprint. And the introductions are available on the website as well – another incentive to visit.

5) I understand that Bookkake will publish original works by contemporary authors. What can readers look forward to?

To be honest, I don’t yet know. I’ve received a number of submissions (if you want lots of free porn, set up an erotica imprint), but Bookkake is not actively looking for work in this way. There are some interesting projects in development, but you’ll just have to wait and see. Readers of the blog might get some hints of where we might be going…

Liber Amoris by William Hazlitt, Memoirs of a Young Rakehell by Guillaume Apollinaire, The Torture Garden by Octave Mirbeau, Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and Fanny Hill by John Cleland are available now from Bookkake.

First posted: Wednesday, November 12th, 2008.

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