Save A Tree: Pagan E-Books
Article ID: 12004
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: January 20th. 2008
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Pagans are readers. Whenever I walk into any local bookstore, I always find someone where the Pagan books are shelved. You would think that this would be to the good in all ways. Unfortunately, it isn’t. There are two problems, one that has to do with the environment and one that has to do with what books are available.
The book industry is very hard on the environment. Bookstores require that publishers allow the bookstores to return unsold books. The bookstores usually rip off the front cover to send back to the publisher and throw out the rest of the book.
Every day bookstores throw into the trash tons of books and magazines. The amount of paper waste is absolutely staggering. When you consider that papermaking is a polluting activity because of the amounts of toxic chemicals used, the harm to the environment is confounded. Further, most books are not printed on recycled paper or on grass papers.
Forests are cut down to produce the paper that goes into books that go into landfills every single day.
Next consider availability of titles. There are many Pagan non-fiction books as well as a growing number of Pagan fiction books published by small publishers. Indeed, the Witches’ Voice lists thirty-two small publishers who publish Pagan works, and there is at least one other good one not listed, Thoth Publications ( http://www.thoth.co.uk/browse_title.php).
It is typical in the book industry for bookstores to demand a 55% discount from the publisher, for the publisher to pay for all shipping, and for the publisher to accept returns.
If the bookstore does return the books instead of just the covers, often the books are too battered to sell and must be trashed. Many small publishers must use the POD technology (one-book-at-a-time printing) or short runs (less than 2, 000 books) because they do not have the money or storage to print out 50, 000 to 500, 000 thousand books.
Printers charge much more for short run and POD printed books, so the retail price for small publishers is generally more than double a book published by a big publisher.
Further bookstores have two lists, the A list and the B list. The A list is pretty much just the big New York publishers. The B list is everybody else.
Bookstore managers are allowed to choose some books though the corporations running the big bookstores determine what books all the stores sell (the A list, naturally). So if a manager likes Ann Moura’s work, for example, it will sell many of her titles. If not, then her books will only show up if the corporation put a given title of hers on their list.
You probably think this is not such a problem because you can go to the computer Internet links that all Borders and Barnes and Noble stores have to look up any book you want. Not every book that is for sale is listed on these in-store search engines.
Mostly back-listed A list books are listed with a few B list books if the manager happened to arranged for a few B list books. I have run into this with my books.
In some places where I live, the bookstores might have listed on their computer for a customer search one or two of my titles. Most of the stores have none. Weirdly one bookstore has a book or two of my books listed at sky-high prices, which I know are not the actual selling prices.
Areas where readers are keen on SF, like in Boston and its suburbs tend to list more of my books on these computer databases. Between the bookstore demands for discounts and money-back store returns and spotty at best B list entries on store data bases, not to mention huge advertising costs, most small publishers go belly up.
You can help the 33 Pagan publishers (32 listed on Witches’ Voice plus Thoth) by buying their books from their sites or from Amazon.com. When you buy a book from Amazon or the publishers’ sites, these are real sales for the Pagan publisher because the books do not come back for a refund. Keep in mind that pretty much only POD books do not end up immediately in dumps. This is because POD books are printed one by one exclusively for customers who are buying the book.
If you want to take part in preventing the shocking amount of paper (tree) waste that the publishing industry produces, buy POD books and e-books. E-books are wonderful. You can download them on your computer, on your iPod type of gadget, and on your cell phone. Yes, you can read an e-book on a cell phone.
My husband has a Samsung cell phone (very fancy) into which he put a three-gigabyte sim card for a total of $140.00, and this allows him to download almost anything from the Internet to his cell-phone. The iPod type of gadgets can store literally hundreds of books. You can put your iPod in a baggie and read your book in the bath.
No more damp novels!
I have heard all the arguments in favor of paper books. They are all true. They also all keep the status quo of killing trees, razing entire forests. They all keep the status quo of filling dumps with tons and tons and tons of paper every single day. They all keep the status quo of poisoning waters with tons and tons of toxic chemicals.
The only argument that viable (on an emotional if not an environmental level) is that you want your favorite Pagan author to autograph your book.
Do this instead.
Download on your computer the image of the book you want your Pagan author to sign and print it out. Put the printout into a spiral notebook. Take the notebook to the Pagan author and have her or him sign your printout. Eventually your spiral book will be filled with autographs, and you can sit and flip through the Spiral Book to look at all the autographs.
Instead of a book case full of books that you have finished reading and might never read again, you will have one Spiral Book of Pagan Authors that will have a potent magic to it—after all, those you esteem signed it for you on every single page.
If your favorite Pagan author’s books are not available as e-books, write to the publisher and ask for e-books to be made available. E-books are easy to make and easy to post and sell. I know. Every Oestara Publishing title is available as an e-book.
Indeed, Fictionwise.com creates them in ten different formats and sells them for me though of course I earn more from the e-books I sell at my own site. Oestara titles are also sold as POD printed books. So, if you want the Oestara Anthology of Pagan Poetry so that you can go on a quest of having all the poets autograph their poems in the book you can.
You can continue to buy, read, and enjoy books without contributing in a massive way to the destruction of the environment. Switching to e-books and POD printed books is much less expensive than switching your gas-guzzling car to an electric one, putting solar panels on your house, or building a Trombé wall on your house.
If you buy, read, and enjoy the e-book or the POD printed New Myths of the Feminine Divine offered by Oestara Publishing or any of the other Pagan works offered by my fellow 32 Pagan publishers, you will be supporting your favorite authors hugely, enabling them to do what they probably do best, write about things Pagan.
Cynthia Joyce Clay
Location: Miami, Florida
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