An ongoing discussion (perhaps better termed debacle) with regard to electronic piracy of books and the impact it has on the authors and publishers thereof has provoked significant and emotional debate among the online occultism community this past week.
While I am not going to move that discussion into the blogosphere or open that can of worms here at The Lions Den, I'll give a very brief summary of the viewpoints expressed, only because it pertains to the subject of today's blog post.
First, we have those who are vehemently opposed to the sharing of books online on torrent sites etc... on the grounds that it does irreparable damage to the author and publisher both, by significantly hurting their sales. Next, we have some, chief of which is RO, who believe that while unpleasant, any loss in sales due to piracy is negligible and in fact the widespread distribution of their books in such a way can be good for business, being tantamount to free advertising and generating a ton of word of mouth, resulting in increased sales of larger ticket items such as courses, services, etc...
My own opinion was that if my own work were to be uploaded somewhere I would definitely be, for lack of a better term, pissed off. Not because of lost sales or revenue, but because to upload my work without the courtesy of an email to me saying "Hey, we'd really like to share some of your work, do you have anything you wouldnt mind contributing?" is pretty fucking rude.
From there the conversation evolved into a discussion on the fact that authors in our field dont make a living off their writing, and indeed profits are pretty small. RO mentioned that DMK only sees about .25 cents per copy of Modern Magick sold, which is just a goddamned shame. Self published authors, such as those who use lulu, create a less expensive product and see more profit from each copy sold, but they have to market their work on their own or, literally, sell none. Also, the target audience already knows that any book published with, say, Scarlet Imprint or Hadean is going to be of excellent content and contain wisdom from one of the brightest minds in the field, simply because they know that Peter & Alkistis at SI or Erze and Dis at Hadean know their stuff and live the life, and thus only publish what they believe in, whereas self published books can and frequently do contain horseshit.
On the other side of the coin, true occult publishers like the aforementioned Scarlet Imprint and Hadean Press put out only quality material from those who, for lack of a better term, know their shit, and they make both beautiful talismanic books and inexpensive paperbacks, and they have an automatic, well deserved credibility so any author whose work is published by them benefits from their good names before the work is even released. (As opposed to, say, a llewellyn author whose book is automatically suspected of major suckage until proven otherwise just because it is being released by a publisher who is about as occult as Pokemon)
The intent of today's post, then, is to take this portion of the debate "to the streets". I'd like to see what YOU, the readers and buyers of our works prefer. Do you prefer for authors to release their material in eBooks for Kindl*/PDF, for Talismanic Hardcover & Inexpensive Paperback combo, Lulu self published & less expensive but also mass-market no visual appeal, or do you prefer courses and lessons such as RO's Red Work Series or Jason Miller's Strategic Sorcery Course?
During all this debate on what mode of release is most favorable and desired by the readership, I thought it most prudent to, you know, ASK the readership. So, Im creating a poll for you all to vote and share your opinion, and you can also comment to share other options and/or ideas. Check them out, get your vote in and let an author know how you prefer books.