The multilingual Theory on Demand (ToD) book series was initiated by our Amsterdam-based research centre, the Institute of Network Cultures (INC), back in 2009, five years after its founding. The main reason for this were the increased costs to publish paper books with established publishers in the Netherlands, like NAi and Valiz, that have demanded in the past up to 20.000 euro per title in subsidies in order to make it economically viable to edit/translate, design, print and distribute a book, including the overhead of the publishing house with paid staff, rent, etc.—money to be organized by the authors, together with the INC. After the right-wing Rutte government implemented a budget cut of 50% in culture and arts during the post-2008 austerity wave, it became all but impossible for an applied science institution like the Hogeschool of Amsterdam (where INC is based) to apply for cultural grants. From now on funding in arts and education were firmly separated by an apartheid wall, aimed at ‘separate development’ of the two, once close sectors. In the cultural sector, even more than in the past, it’s state-controlled funds that decide which books are going to be published in the Netherlands. INC was thus forced to investigate ‘free’ digital publishing formats as ‘academic’ research grants were unwilling to finance free-floating theory publications. The other implication of this model is the increased dependency of the entire sector on free or cheap interns.

The philosophy of the ToD series was—and still is—relatively simple. Instead of pretending to be a full-fledged publishing house, the INC was going to do publishing experiments in a serialized form. In this way, technical knowledge could be transferred from one generation of staff and students to the next, which is all but impossible with on-off publications. Initially Margreet Riphagen set up the series, working together with the designer Katja van Stiphout, who is still designing the ToD book covers. Miriam Rasch also considerably contributed to the further development of the series, as have Sepp Eckenhaussen and Tommaso Campagna lately. Initially, the series offered a pdf version, a print-on-demand option to purchase a paper copy via lulu and the dispersion of the content via a variety of so-called web readers (such as Issuu). The rise of e-readers and smartphones urged us to start to experiment with the e-pub format (which was later on dissolved and integrated into the HTML5 standard). In the early years of the e-book separate version had to be made—and tested—for readers such as Kindle (Amazon), Kobo and others.

The experiences of staff, designers, programmers, writers and interns are stored in an internal manual plus a separate one for authors. Over the years, three generations have worked to refine the ‘markdown’ workflow. Sometimes, ToD titles are printed in small quantities, like 200 or 500, when funding for this has been available. In such a case, the INC would distribute these paper books for free, worldwide, via the postal service, much like is still happening in the case of its oldest series, the INC readers. Different from most others, the INC is not collecting data about downloads, views, likes on social media etc. As one of the first research centres in the world, INC declared itself data-free. Publications are gifts to the universe, in the spirit of Adilkno’s description of sovereign media that have emancipated itself of any possible audience (and its deadly boring statistics). The impact and ranking logic in academia has all but destroyed stylistic diversity and literary experimentation and led to a bureaucratic monoculture, aimed at eliminating all modes of critical and speculative thinking.

Three Dutch applied sciences grants have so far helped to finance the further development of the Theory on Demand series: the Hybrid Publishing Toolkit (2013-2014), which resulted in the e-pub manual with the same name, Making Public , which produced the Urgent Publishing Toolkit (2018-2020) and Going Hybrid (2022-23), which introduced a broader multi-media ‘expanded publishing’ approach, including online video and podcasting as grown-up, stand-alone publishing practices. In all these projects, the collaboration with the Rotterdam art academy Willem de Kooning, has been intense, in particular with Florian Cramer, Aymeric Mansoux, Michael Murtaugh and their Experimental Publishing (XPUB) master degree.

Editor: Geert Lovink

Thao Phan; Jake Goldenfein; Declan Kuch; Monique Mann (2022):

Economies of Virtue – The Circulation of 'Ethics' in AI (Theory on Demand 46)

Nishant Shah; Ashish Rajadhyaskha; Nafis Hasan (2022):

Overload, Creep, Excess – An Internet from India (Theory on Demand 45)

Maria van der Togt; 11111 &23%#719 (2022):

Dispatches from Ukraine. Tactical Media Reflections and Responses (Theory on Demand 44)

Ana Cristina Suzina; Thomas Tufte (2022):

Freire and the Perseverance of Hope. Exploring Communication and Social Change (Theory on Demand 43)

Ana Vilenica (2021):

Radical Housing. Art, Struggle, Care (Theory on Demand 42)

Josephine Bosma (2021):

Pandemic Exchange. How Artists Experience the COVID-19 Crisis (Theory on Demand 41)

Stefanie Milan; Emiliano Treré; Silvia Masiero (2021):

COVID-19 from the Margins. Pandemic Invisibilities, Policies and Resistance in the Datafied Society (Theory on Demand 40)

Sandeep Mertia (2020):

Lives of Data. Essays on Computational Cultures from India (Theory on Demand 39)

Isabel Löfgren (2020):

Satellite Lifelines. Media, Art, Migration and the Crisis of Hospitality in Divided Cities (Theory on Demand 38)

Ulus S. Baker (2020):

From Opinions to Images. Essays Towards a Sociology of Affects (Theory on Demand 37)

Tripta Chandola (2020):

Listening into Others. An Ethnographic Exploration in Govindpuri (Theory on Demand 36)

Donatella Della Ratta; Kay Dickinson; Sune Haugbolle (2020):

The Arab Archive. Mediated Memories and Digital Flows (Theory on Demand 35)

Ana Peraica (2019):

The Age of Total Images. Disappearance of a Subjective Viewpoint in Post-digital Photography (Theory on Demand 34)

Patricia de Vries (2019):

Algorithmic Anxiety in Contemporary Art. A Kierkegaardian Inquiry intothe Imaginary of Possibility (Theory on Demand 33)

Sabine Niederer (2019):

Networked Content Analysis. The Case of Climate change (Theory on Demand 32)

Jean-Marc Larrue; Marcello Vitali-Rosati (2019):

Media Do Not Exist. Performativity and Mediating Conjunctures (Theory on Demand 31)

Bilwet; Geert Lovink; Arjen Mulder; Bas-Jan van Stam; Lex Wouterloot (2019):

Bilwet Fascismemap (1983-1994) (Theory on Demand 30)

Angela Daly; S. Kate Devitt; Monique Mann (2019):

Good Data (Theory on Demand 29)

Annalisa Pelizza (2018):

Communities at a Crossroads. Material Semiotics for Online Sociability in the Fade of Cyberculture (Theory on Demand 28)

Trine Bjørkmann Berry (2018):

Videoblogging Before YouTube (Theory on Demand 27)

Marcello Vitali-Rosati (2018):

On Editorialization. Structuring Space and Authority in the Digital Age (Theory on Demand 26)

Alex Foti (2017):

General Theory of the Precariat (Theory on Demand 25)

Ana Peraica (2017):

Culture of the Selfie. Self-Representation in Contemporary Visual Culture (Theory on Demand 24)

Autistici/Inventati (2017):

+KAOS. Ten Years of Hacking and Media Activism (Theory on Demand 23)

Kenneth C. Werbin (2017):

The List Serves. Population Control and Power (Theory on Demand 22)

The Playful Mapping Collective (2016):

Playful Mapping in the Digital Age (Theory on Demand 21)

Scott Contreras-Koterbay; Łukasz Mirocha (2016):

The New Aesthetic and Art. Constellations of the Postdigital (Theory on Demand 20)

Ellie Rennie; Eleanor Hogan; Robin Gregory; Andrew Crouch; Alyson Wright; Julian Thomas (2016):

Internet on the Outstation. The Digital Divide and Remote Aboriginal Communities (Theory on Demand 19)

Ramon Lobato; James Meese (2016):

Geoblocking and Global Video Culture (Theory on Demand 18)

Gordana Nikolić; Šefik Tatlić (2015):

The Gray Zones of Creativity and Capital (Theory on Demand 17)

Alev I.Degim; James Johnson; Tao Fu (2015):

Online Courtship – Interpersonal Interactions Across Borders (Theory on Demand 16)

Ippolita (2015):

In the Facebook Aquarium: The Resistible Rise of Anarcho-Capitalism (Theory on Demand 15)

Marianne van den Boomen (2014):

Transcoding the Digital. How Metaphors Matter in New Media (Theory on Demand 14)

Ippolita (2013):

The Dark Side of Google (Theory on Demand 13)

Patrick Lichty (2013):

Variant Analyses, Interrogations of New Media Art and Culture (Theory on Demand 12)

Smite Rasa (2012):

Creative Networks, in the Rearview Mirror of Eastern European History (Theory on Demand 11)

Ali Balunywa; Guido van Diepen; Wouter Dijkstra; Kai Henriquez; Ben White; Geert Lovink (2011):

Beyond ICT4D. New Media Research in Uganda (Theory on Demand 10)

Geert Lovink (2011):

My First Recession: Critical Internet Culture in Transition (Theory on Demand 9)

Carolin Wiedemann; Soenke Zehle (2012):

Depletion Design. A Glossary of Network Ecologies (Theory on Demand 8)

Andreas Treske; Ufuk Onen; Bestem Büyüm; Alev I. Degim (2011):

Image, Time and Motion. New Media Critique from Turkey (Theory on Demand 7)

Tom Apperley (2010):

Gaming Rhythms. Play and Counterplay from the Situated to the Global (Theory on Demand 6)

Nikos Papastergiadis (2010):

Spatial Aesthetics. Art, Place and the Everyday (Theory on Demand 5)

Joost Smiers; Marieke van Schijndel (2009):

Imagine There Is No Copyright and No Cultural Conglomorates Too… (Theory on Demand 4)

Ana Peraica (2009):

Victims Symptom (PTSD and culture) (Theory on Demand 3)

Geert Lovink; Pit Schultz (2010):

Jugendjahre der Netzkritik. Essays zu Web 1.0 (1995-1997) (Theory on Demand 2)

Geert Lovink (2009):

Dynamics of Critical Internet Culture (1994-2001) (Theory on Demand 1)