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As any independent magazine maker will tell you, there are two crucial and incredibly frustrating elements to publishing that are pretty difficult to square: funding and distribution. Once you get a little insight into distribution, you realize how an absurd, wasteful and rigid system is essentially leading to tons and tons of paper ending up in the waste, making it for smaller magazines virtually impossible to survive. While change is slowly emerging with the boom of independent publishing in recent years, it’s time to mention and thank those without whose support mono.kultur would not have been able to survive for five years: the small and independent bookstores.

We sometimes get asked why we’re not available at regular kiosks or train stations, and there’s a very simple reason: the infrastructure is not set up to support a magazine like ours. We don’t want issues that have not been sold at the end of the month to be thrown away, and we don’t want them shelved in the lifestyle section, and we don’t want to have to pay special fees to be displayed in a visible spot. Instead, we’d like to have an exchange with our stores, we want their staff to care about the titles they carry, and we want them to actually engage with what we do. So this is why we only work with small and independent distributors, and we only work with small and independent stores. Because they care as much as we do. In fact, they’re all really great stores run by good people, so it just occurred to us that it’s about time that we present some of them – because these are the kinds of stores that we can thoroughly recommend.

And since we’re feeling a little sentimental these days, where better to start than with Pro QM, where it kind of all started. Anyone in Berlin with some interest in art, architecture or design will be familiar with Pro QM. For a long, long time this lovely and incredibly well-sorted independent bookstore was the only focus point for the creative community in Berlin Mitte: looking for an obscure architectural theory tome from the 60s or the most recent Hedi Slimane coffee table book? Pro QM is the place to go. And while the art book landscape has diversified a little in recent years, Pro QM is still a wonderful place to spend a few hours with browsing and discovering books you never thought could exist. Or just let their friendly and knowledgeable staff take you by the hand and show you some of their marvels.

So why did it all begin at Pro QM for us? In, uh, 2003 or something, we left some small flyers at the store to look for people who might be interested in producing an independent interview magazine… As trite as this may sound, it obviously did the trick: some of the people who got in touch at the time are still with us, so many years later. So just in case you’re looking for some friends to start up a small project of some sorts, you know where to go.

Pro QM
Almstadtstrasse 48-50
D-10119 Berlin

Above: Pro QM
Below: How it all started

One Comment

  1. JasonM wrote:

    While it is true that the selection of material at pro qm is extremely high quality, I must disagree about the “friendly” staff.

    In my experience, while the staff may be “friendly” to those customers who have met the criteria in advance for being cool, knowledgeable and sophisticated, they are not especially “friendly” to the average person on the street. Of course, this is typical for the art field as a whole.

    Friday, September 17, 2010 at 20:10 | Permalink