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The Counter-Currents 2013 Fall Fundraiser 
Steal This Book

Antoine Wiertz (1806-1865), "The Reader of Novels," 1853

Antoine Wiertz (1806-1865), “The Reader of Novels,” 1853

1,117 words

Dear Friend of Counter-Currents:

Our fundraiser is coming down to the wire. If any of our supporters wishes to offer a matching grant, now would be a good time.

Since our last update, we received eleven new donations totaling $1,215. Thank you! That means that our total is $42,625.29, which means that we are now $7,374.71 away from our annual goal of $50,000.

If it is important for you to be able to deduct your donations from your US Federal income taxes, please contact me at [email protected]. Between now and the end of the year, a tax-deductible foundation will take donations earmarked for specific Counter-Currents projects.

* * *

Over the weekend, one of our new readers and donors asked me some questions about our “business model.” So I thought I would dust off and update a statement I made in 2011 about this matter.

Counter-Currents Publishing was not intended to be a non-profit enterprise, but like many media ventures in the digital and internet age, it is turning out that way.

The internet has forever altered book buying habits and has thus transformed the publishing industry. Before the internet, I carried a list of out-of-print books in my wallet. It was a long list, printed in tiny letters. Whenever I went to a new city, I would haunt the local used book stores, searching for items on my list. When I went online in 2000, I went to Bookfinder.com and found every book on my list within an hour, from used booksellers as far away as Cyprus and Australia.

In the pre-internet age, when I saw a book that I might like to read some day at a good price, I would snap it up, just in case I might never find it again, or find it at such a good price. Because of scarcity—a scarcity of information more than of the books themselves—I bought now and hoarded for future use. With the internet, I know that I will almost always be able to find a book, so I only buy books that I want to read right now. Thus in the last 14 years, the number of books I have purchased per year has dropped considerably, even as the number of books I have read has gone up.

Digital technology has also transformed publishing. In the past, books were printed from physical plates that had to be prepared and stored at some expense. Thus corrections were expensive and there was a strong pressure to make print runs large, which entailed large shipping and warehousing costs and also posed significant financial risks if a book did not sell. Furthermore, because second print runs were large and expensive as well, books would eventually go out of print if publishers did not feel they were worth the risk.

Printing from digital files reduces typesetting costs and makes corrections easier and cheaper. It makes possible printing books in small batches, which lowers the costs of printing, shipping, and storage. It also allows publishers to bring out riskier or more esoteric titles and to keep them in print indefinitely.

The invention of eBooks and eBook readers is also making the printed book obsolete. EBooks are cheaper to buy than printed books, and the marginal cost of producing new ones is virtually nil, meaning that the profit margin is extremely high. They can be purchased virtually instantaneously and delivered virtually instantaneously and free of charge. Furthermore, your eBooks do not take up shelf space, collect dust, or require back-breaking labor to move.

Unfortunately, the combination of digital media and the internet also makes it a lot easier to steal books. In the olden days, I imagine that some people were arrested with books stuffed under their sweaters just for following Abbie Hoffman’s advice to Steal this Book. But today, with online file-sharing websites, one can steal eBooks with virtual impunity.

The only people who will not steal digital books are those who have a strong moral commitment to capitalism and private property (in all candor, such people are not our preferred audience) or people who want more than just the information in the book: they crave the physical book itself because they are wedded to the particular physical medium or because it is rare, beautiful, personalized, or otherwise unique.

At Counter-Currents, however, we are not too concerned with people reading our books for free. There is a very simple reason for this. We want to save the world, and we publish materials that we think will contribute to that end. And if we really believe that’s what we are doing, then we should not try to create artificial scarcity just to make a buck. Nor should we delay the release of a text for months until it can come out in print. If something is worth publishing, it is worth publishing right away. That is why we have our webzine: to make world-transforming ideas available immediately, for free.

There are some of exceptions to this rule. First, free online publication was not part of our agreements with the authors of our existing fiction titles. However, it will be for any future fiction works. Second, in the interests of readability, I sometimes serialize longer works. Third, I also try not to publish too many things in the same day, which entails some delays. Finally, I hold on to some works to commemorate particular dates, which I think enhances their impact.

Because Counter-Currents is committed to making world-altering ideas available immediately for free online, we have to depend on the generosity of donors to keep us going. That is why we are having our current Summer Fundraiser. If you have not made a donation yet, please consider doing so now. Time is short, and we have a long way to goal before we make our goal.

You can make two different types of donations:

  • A single donation of any size.
  • A recurring donation of any size.

Recurring donations are particularly helpful, since they allow us better to predict and plan for the future. We have added several new levels for recurring donations. Please visit our Donations page for more information.

We can also customize the amount of a monthly donation.

There are several ways to make one-time donations:

  • The easiest is through Paypal. For a one-time donation, just use the following button:
  • You can send check, money order, or credit card payment by mail. Just print out our donation form in Word or PDF.
  • You can make a secure credit card donation direct from our Donation page.

Please give generously!

Thank you for your loyal readership and support, and Merry Christmas!

Greg Johnson
Editor-in-Chief
Counter-Currents Publishing, Ltd.

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. Norwegian
    Posted December 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    ” they crave the physical book itself because they are wedded to the particular physical medium or because it is rare, beautiful, personalized, or otherwise unique.”

    Or, as in my case, crave the physical book because of the very real possibility of a world-wide economic melt-down, nuclear world war, or a NWO take-over of the internet. The internet in its current form, and all the infrastructure supporting it, is indeed a very fragile system. We may very well be living in a tiny historical window, with the way the internet gives us access to free speech. So we shoulod enjoy it while we can, and at the same time prepare for a return to more primitive media types. That’s texts printed on paper. Think about it…

    • JuleighHowardHobson
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 3:28 am | Permalink

      Agreed. A book in the hand is worth all on the net.

  2. Joe Owens
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    How very odd! I’m just reading “Steal This Book” by Abbie Hoffman.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      How much did you pay for it?

  3. JHRP
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Perhaps you should also consider granting the digital version of a book for free when purchasing the physical edition of it. Some of the titles available here are very difficult, if at all, to find in a professionally converted ebook, so that might be an interesting incentive. Naturally it would be best to adopt an open standard like .epub for the conversions instead of a restriced one such as .mobi.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted December 31, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      I will look into that. We can certainly do it with our own titles.

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