Donald Kraig, of Modern Magick fame, posted a rebuttal over at the Llewellyn Magick Unbound blog which is articulate, lucid, and, in my opinion, quite wrong.If you haven't yet read it, you should do so now, along with the comments section as you'll need to in order to understand the remainder of this posting.
My comment, which has yet to be moderated and appear on the blog but belongs after comment #6, is as follows:
As I expressed on comment section of the blog in question, I wholly agree with the author of that post. I do not “encourage’ piracy of books, but I do understand completely why many people participate and I do not condemn them for it. Let’s call a spade a spade here; many publishers these days release absolute tripe – González-Wippler’s books being a shining example.
Addressing first your suggestion that they buy and then return such books, while Llewellyn, Amazon and some others do happily accept returns, the fact is that for many of the “independent occult publishers” do not. Further, those that do accept returns require that you pay to ship the book back to them, and as many of them are located in the EU, UK or otherwise internationally, the cost of posting a book back to them renders the refund moot and the whole thing an exercise in futility.
You argue that while the blogger finds many of the books released today useless, they may not be so to others. In this you’re incorrect. They’re useless to everyone. You refer to Miss González-Wippler as an expert in Santeria. Apparently she is also an expert in Wicca, Paganism, Christian Mysticism, Qabalah, Grimoires, Palo, Dream Interpretation, Christian Qabalah, Amulets and Talismans, What Happens After Death, Angelology, and Seashell Divination because Llewellyn has published her books on each and every of these subjects, as well as several others. They all share a common theme – tripe.
Publishers who release such material, alongside Schueler’s Enochian material which, lets be honest, is even worse, are going to have their releases questioned by the market they target, and justifiably so. If someone would rather download an illegal version of a book released by that publisher than spend the $10 or $20 only to find out that what they’ve purchased a bookend, I can’t blame them.
As Jack said in his original post – Llewellyn DOES has several authors who are genuinely good teachers and authors, and who write an excellent book. However when their work is next to a dozen Silver Ravenwolf titles, Migene’s “expert” treatises on every aspect of occultism under the sun and Schuelers’ Un-nochian material, the buyers have a very good reason to be suspicious.
Let's be clear here. There are some publishers who can be counted on to release only valid, well researched material which will benefit the reader - Among them Scarlet Imprint, Nephilim, Teitan and Hadean. And then there are some on the other end of the spectrum. Those who do occasionally release valuable material, but which, as Jack Faust suggests, represents a needle in a haystack amongst all of the other tripe they sell the masses. While we would love to think the latter sort is limited to the Llewellyns and Finbarrs of the world, there are even some amongst the independent occult publishers' community who have released utter tripe. No need to name names, and while few are willing to criticize the works of others you, dear reader, know as well as I the disappointment of ordering a much hyped, masterfully marketed, limited edition of 39, finely bound paperweight which contains all the wisdom of a fortune cookie.
While I do hate that piracy hurts publishers like the aforementioned SI, Teitan, Nephilim and Hadean, who genuinely care and put actual love into and take pride in their work, I also concede that the "pirates" who simply don't want to continue getting swindled by the less reputable publishers are justified in this.
This doesn't apply to those who just want to be dicks and download everything under the sun, or who have the money and just dont care to spend it. They, unlike the serious student who just can't afford to spend $100 on a paperweight, are just plain dicks.