Mercurius Politicus posted about a fascinating antecedent of modern crowdfunding a few month: a 17th-century writer who raised funds to back a trip by foot from London to Scotland without begging along the way and then to produce a written account.
The deal for subscribers seems to have been a copy of the book, although it’s not clear whether they each received one or whether more generous subscribers might receive more. Taylor may have hoped to sell surplus copies to a wider audience through stationers. It’s also not entirely clear what Taylor actually spent the pledged money on.
Everything old is new again.