Tech Desk

From the Tech Desk

How is Revolutionizing the Do-It-Yourself Model

The idea of the online marketplace has been a popular one for years, ever since Amazon and eBay came into their own and became the go-to sources for new books and rare merchandise. Since then, digital entertainment outlets like iTunes and Netflix have taken similar ideas and used them to revolutionize their respective industries. Similarly, Amazon’s move to eBook technology brought about a major shift in the way people buy, read and experience books, but even with these growing outlets, there was always a middle man.

It may have been getting easier for a customer to rent a movie, find a song or pick up a highly in-demand book with minimal hassle, but ultimately, the transaction was not much different than someone walking into a big box store and handing over their hard earned cash. Even the authors who publish themselves on the Kindle marketplace are sharing a fair chunk of their earnings with the site.

Enter reKiosk, an online marketplace (in the truest sense of the word) that allows authors and musicians to sell eBooks and digital albums directly to their fans. But while eliminating the middle man is a big step towards a do-it-yourself revolution, where reKiosk truly distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack is in allowing fans to turn around and sell an artist’s work to others, earning money in the process.

“reKiosk is the first platform of its kind to provide an easy, free and shareable way to sell all digital files online—whether it's your own original work or someone else's,” said Aziz Isham, the founder and CEO of the site. “It's great for publishers and it's great for bloggers, critics and other curators who want to open a digital store where they can recommend eBooks and music and get paid to do so.”

It’s that spirit of digital curation that lies at the heart of the reKiosk model and makes it unique. The middle man is eliminated in direct transactions between artists and their fans, but that’s only half of the appeal. The other half lies in making the fan the middle man, giving them the option of taking part in the distribution role and capitalizing on their passion for the art at hand by allowing them to recommend and sell it to like-minded listeners or readers. Either way, the original poster makes at least 70% of every sale, with reKiosk only taking 5% and the remaining quarter going to whoever made the final trade. In the case of direct transactions, that 25% goes right back to the artist; but if a curator recommends and sells the item themselves, they are compensated for that sale with a 25% commission. Call it a finder’s fee for a purchase that otherwise would not have occurred. In both situations, all parties win.

“The internet is all about disintermediation, but it's our belief that the act of curation is an essential part of the consumer experience,” Isham said. “So while reKiosk allows anyone to sell digital goods for free, it also allows anyone else to promote them: to build their own kiosk, to market and to collect a considerable commission from each sale. That what makes us different: we're a marketplace, but we're also a social media site—an ecosystem of inter-connected buyers, bloggers, publishers and tastemakers.”

So how did the idea come about? According to Isham, the reKiosk model was built from the ground up with independent users in mind. A veteran of digital publishing in his own right, Isham noticed a trend in complaints from his peers, and designed reKiosk with the goal of rectifying those shared grievances.

"We kept hearing the same complaints from our fellow publishers,” Isham explained. “A lack of viable online alternatives to the big box stores, the high costs of creating a secure eCommerce site from scratch, the difficulty marketing independent and mid-list titles. reKisok was built with this community in mind, and we built it for the simple reason that no one else would.”

In both function and form, reKiosk defines the phrase “user-friendly.” From its sleek, attractive and easy to use interface to a sign-up process that only takes a few minutes, the site reflects a no-nonsense, do-it-yourself aesthetic that is very appealing in this day and age. According to Isham, the simplicity of the design mirrors the speed with which the entire project came together.

“We had our first meeting about reKiosk back in February, and launched the site in late August,” he said. “Since then, it’s all been a blur.”

Blur or not, reKiosk is one of the most interesting retail sites on the internet right now and represents what could be the next major shift in do-it-yourself marketing. Interested in getting in on the ground floor? Visit

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Craig Manning is currently studying English and Music at Western Michigan University. In edition to writing for Independent Publisher, he maintains a pair of entertainment blogs, interns at the Traverse City Business News, and writes for and his college newspaper. He welcomes comments or questions concerning his articles via email, at