Restricted Publications-An Effective or Ineffective Tactic?

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Re: Zabmo Nangdon to be published by Shambhala

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jul 28, 2014 3:46 pm

Osho wrote:My issue with this particularly privileged book with its restricted circulation to 'adepts' or others whom Shambhala Press deem to be suitable readers of the materials is one of inclusion and exclusion.
So it is a jealousy issue? You are freaking out because you are not an adept? I mean really, if you haven't done ngondro, haven't had pointing out instructions, and are not practicing HYT yidam under the guidance of a qualified lama, then why would you want the book anyway?

Are you a Vajrayana practitioner? Then why haven't you done ngondro, had pointing out instructions, and why aren't you practicing HYT yidam under the guidance of a qualified lama? What sort of Vajrayana practitioner are you?

If you are not practicing Mahamudra then why concern yourself with the use of the nectars?

Tantra for titillation?

Spiritual materialism?
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One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Zabmo Nangdon to be published by Shambhala

Postby Son of Buddha » Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:39 pm

conebeckham wrote:About the price. Look, it costs a lot of money to publish any book.

No it doesn't. Its actually very cheap to publish books. If you wish to publish in bulk it costs roughly 1.34 per book.(prices vary based upon competitors)
If you go the Pay On Demand route(POD) it costs between $3 to 10$ for most average sized books(prices vary based on page number)
So if you make a book for 10$ and sell it for 20$ a book you can easily make a 100% profit.
There is a lot of money to be made as long as you have the DEMAND.

Shambhala is not making huge profits. Snow Lion certainly wasn't. The translators are not getting rich,of that you can be assured.
that's because there is not a lot of demand for their product.
If there was a lot of demand for their product they would be filthy rich with the prices they are charging.
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Re: Zabmo Nangdon to be published by Shambhala

Postby conebeckham » Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:04 am

Perhaps, Son of Buddha, but Buddhist Publishers know the audience is specialized, and always will be. Also, you don't account for overhead when calculating how much it costs to publish a book. The whole issue of "Dharma Money" or the "Dharma Marketplace" is a big one, and Buddhist book publishers are certainly a subset of the Buddhist-oriented Marketplace; still, without people taking the time and doing the work to publish, most of us wouldn't have access to 90+% of the Dharma information that is currently available. Now, paper books may be a dying breed, and E-Publishing the new thing, with piracy impacting profit, and therefore, to some degree, a curtailment of interest and investment on the part of publishers to engage in publishing in the first place.

I'm frankly not sure what your point is, unless it is that these books should be cheap(er). ??
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Re: Zabmo Nangdon to be published by Shambhala

Postby Son of Buddha » Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:40 am

conebeckham wrote:Perhaps, Son of Buddha, but Buddhist Publishers know the audience is specialized, and always will be. Also, you don't account for overhead when calculating how much it costs to publish a book.


I did account for overhead when calculating how much it costs to publish a book. If anything my esstimates for how much a book costs to produce is to high.

still, without people taking the time and doing the work to publish, most of us wouldn't have access to 90+% of the Dharma information that is currently available.

Yes and if they all charged 108$ per Dharma book then 90+% of us would have never had access to all the dharma information that is currently available.
I'm frankly not sure what your point is, unless it is that these books should be cheap(er). ??

I was just replying to your statement........ And yes these books should be cheaper,if they were mabey they would sell more.
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Re: Zabmo Nangdon to be published by Shambhala

Postby conebeckham » Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:03 am

Hard to believe, but perhaps that's not their chief goal...
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Re: Zabmo Nangdon to be published by Shambhala

Postby yegyal » Tue Jul 29, 2014 3:59 am

One of the reasons that Sanskrit titles are included at the beginning of Tibetan translations of Indian texts is to remind the reader of the kindness of the translators. This notion seems to be lost in the fray of these discussions about the cost of Dharma books. Elizabeth Callahan has been working on this book for years and people are talking about how much profit can be made selling bound up copies of ink on paper. That shows very little understanding of the value of the work. Of course, none of this would even get to the point of being published if there wasn't a sponsor supporting her. In fact, that's why all those books are available in Tibetan, because sponsors took it upon themselves to have them printed and made available for a nominal price. Even TBRC is funded by sponsors. So all this talk about things being free or available is all because of somebody else footing the bill. So rather than complaining about the costs of books like this, maybe you should appreciate how cheap it really is. What's dinner and a movie cost these days? Is that really worth more to you than being able to read the scriptures of your chosen religion?
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Re: Zabmo Nangdon to be published by Shambhala

Postby ratna » Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:27 am

:good:
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Re: Zabmo Nangdon to be published by Shambhala

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:55 pm

yegyal wrote:One of the reasons that Sanskrit titles are included at the beginning of Tibetan translations of Indian texts is to remind the reader of the kindness of the translators. This notion seems to be lost in the fray of these discussions about the cost of Dharma books. Elizabeth Callahan has been working on this book for years and people are talking about how much profit can be made selling bound up copies of ink on paper. That shows very little understanding of the value of the work. Of course, none of this would even get to the point of being published if there wasn't a sponsor supporting her. In fact, that's why all those books are available in Tibetan, because sponsors took it upon themselves to have them printed and made available for a nominal price. Even TBRC is funded by sponsors. So all this talk about things being free or available is all because of somebody else footing the bill. So rather than complaining about the costs of books like this, maybe you should appreciate how cheap it really is. What's dinner and a movie cost these days? Is that really worth more to you than being able to read the scriptures of your chosen religion?


Right, but the issue here is not cost, it is restrictions vs. lack of restrictions, and the reality is that restricting books is a little fatuous.

Personally, making books like khrid ye shes bla ma and so on expensive automatically restricts them. Setting a high price for important tantric texts is a more effective strategy than making people fill out questionnaires and signing oaths.

Anyway, as I already pointed out, well trained students will not purchase books for which they do not have transmission/permission.
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Re: Restricted Publications-An Effective or Ineffective Tact

Postby yegyal » Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:25 pm

I was actually referring to SofB's description of book costs more than anything. It seems that this became a thread dedicated to a different topic since my last post.
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Re: Restricted Publications-An Effective or Ineffective Tact

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:29 pm

yegyal wrote:I was actually referring to SofB's description of book costs more than anything. It seems that this became a thread dedicated to a different topic since my last post.



I know, and I agree with you %100. As a translator I can tell you we survive solely on sponsorships. There is no money in translating books.
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Re: Restricted Publications-An Effective or Ineffective Tact

Postby conebeckham » Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:03 pm

Actually, reviewing the thread, there are really two issues that arose in this discussion: the cost, and the restrictions. There are a variety of opinions about both issues. Given the recent sale/buy-out of Snow Lion, a publisher that really provided a huge benefit for the Dharma IMO, by Shambhala, a more mainstream publishing house, I gotta wonder who's really getting rich.....restrictions would appear to limit sales, though some may argue they create demand, paradoxically. High prices also apparently limit sales. Piracy has an impact, too.

I know many translators, and I agree with Malcolm's assessment. I also don't think the publishers are Fat Cats.
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Re: Restricted Publications-An Effective or Ineffective Tact

Postby Tom » Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:21 am

SoB what type of books are you costing out there? I can tell you that no one is getting rich off Buddhist books. Not the translators and not the publishers. At least not on important series like these:

http://www.wisdompubs.org/support-project

These types of books require funds above beyond the sticker price. They only exist in part because of generous donors.
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Re: Restricted Publications-An Effective or Ineffective Tact

Postby Qing Tian » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:27 am

Seems to me, from the sidelines, that restrictions and high prices are doing nothing more than creating a Veblen good.
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Re: Restricted Publications-An Effective or Ineffective Tact

Postby Sherlock » Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:30 pm

This is the 84000 project's disclaimer on why they decided to openly publish their translations of tantras:

Note: The decision to publish tantra texts without restricted access has been considered carefully. First of all, it should be noted that all the original Tibetan texts of the Kangyur, including those in this Tantra Collection section, are in the public domain. Some of the texts in this section (but by no means all of them) are nevertheless, according to some traditions, only studied with authorization and after suitable preliminaries. It is true, of course, that a translation makes the content accessible to a far greater number of people; 84000 has therefore consulted many senior Buddhist teachers on this question, and most of them felt that to publish the texts openly is, on balance, the best solution. The alternatives would be not to translate them at all (which would defeat the purposes of the whole project), or to place some sort of restriction on their access. Restricted access has been tried by some Buddhist book publishers, and of course needs a system of administration, judgment, and policing that is either a mere formality, or is very difficult to implement. It would be even harder to implement in the case of electronic texts - and even easier to circumvent. Indeed, nowadays practically the whole range of traditionally restricted Tibetan Buddhist material is already available to anyone who looks for it, and is all too often misrepresented, taken out of context, or its secret and esoteric nature deliberately vaunted. 84000's policy is to present carefully authenticated translations in their proper setting of the whole body of Buddhist sacred literature, and to trust the good sense of the vast majority of readers not to misuse or misunderstand them. Practitioners who wish to adhere strictly to the traditional restrictions and commitments are, of course, not obliged to read the translations just because they are published here. In case of doubt, they are advised to consult the authorities of their lineage.
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Re: Zabmo Nangdon to be published by Shambhala

Postby Son of Buddha » Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:56 pm

conebeckham wrote:Hard to believe, but perhaps that's not their chief goal...

Providing Dharma at a reasonable price so all people who are interested in it can learn it should be their chief goal.
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Re: Zabmo Nangdon to be published by Shambhala

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:19 pm

Son of Buddha wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Hard to believe, but perhaps that's not their chief goal...

Providing Dharma at a reasonable price so all people who are interested in it can learn it should be their chief goal.


If someone cannot cough up a 100 bucks for a rare text someone has gone through considerable trouble to translate then they don't really need it or want it.

Sutrayāna is different than Vajrayāna on this score. Eventually, whole Kenjur will be online, for free. This does not mean however that all books should be free. Even the Kenjur is not free -- 84000 is paying a lot of money to have those sutras and tantras translated.
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Re: Zabmo Nangdon to be published by Shambhala

Postby Son of Buddha » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:26 pm

yegyal wrote:One of the reasons that Sanskrit titles are included at the beginning of Tibetan translations of Indian texts is to remind the reader of the kindness of the translators. This notion seems to be lost in the fray of these discussions about the cost of Dharma books. Elizabeth Callahan has been working on this book for years and people are talking about how much profit can be made selling bound up copies of ink on paper. That shows very little understanding of the value of the work. Of course, none of this would even get to the point of being published if there wasn't a sponsor supporting her. In fact, that's why all those books are available in Tibetan, because sponsors took it upon themselves to have them printed and made available for a nominal price. Even TBRC is funded by sponsors. So all this talk about things being free or available is all because of somebody else footing the bill. So rather than complaining about the costs of books like this, maybe you should appreciate how cheap it really is. What's dinner and a movie cost these days? Is that really worth more to you than being able to read the scriptures of your chosen religion?


Yea except at an "auspiciously priced" 108$ poor Buddhists cannot afford these books... But I guess they are just complaining about the price and should appreciate just how "cheap" it is. Oh well I guess Buddhism is really only for the rich man..... Who can afford 10 books for 1000$.

Also these high priced books turn off any new comer who is interested in Buddhism........ How many people do you know can afford and are willing to pay 50$ to 100$ for books on a religion they don't even belong to yet, just so they can see if they want to belong to that religion?

High prices is a restriction to those Buddhists who are poor.
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Re: Restricted Publications-An Effective or Ineffective Tact

Postby conebeckham » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:34 pm

Son of Buddha, there's plenty of books for Buddhist "beginners" that are affordable.....a search through any used book store, or on-line, say at Alibris, or even Amazon, reveals this.

In general, a beginner shouldn't be reading Zabmo Nangdon, or Guyhagarbha, or Yeshe Lama, anyway, in my opinion.
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Re: Zabmo Nangdon to be published by Shambhala

Postby Son of Buddha » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:35 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Son of Buddha wrote:
conebeckham wrote:Hard to believe, but perhaps that's not their chief goal...

Providing Dharma at a reasonable price so all people who are interested in it can learn it should be their chief goal.


If someone cannot cough up a 100 bucks for a rare text someone has gone through considerable trouble to translate then they don't really need it or want it.

Sutrayāna is different than Vajrayāna on this score. Eventually, whole Kenjur will be online, for free. This does not mean however that all books should be free. Even the Kenjur is not free -- 84000 is paying a lot of money to have those sutras and tantras translated.


I wish All dharmic texts were free,that's what the Buddha wanted.
I also understand that it costs money to produce texts, but be within reason and don't profiteer off of others.

Some people need that 100$ to pay the bills or put food on the table..... So yes they need or want the Buddhist text but they cannot afford too purchase it.

Then you have to consider all the OTHER books they need in the future, pretty soon that 100$ for one book turns into 1000$ for ten books........like I said at those auspicious prices Buddhist Dharma is only for the rich man.

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Re: Restricted Publications-An Effective or Ineffective Tact

Postby supermaxv » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:37 pm

Considering that you can easily walk into a used bookstore (at least around here in Seattle) and see dozens of very cheap (and sometimes very good) books about Buddhism (sometimes openly talking about extremely esoteric / secret subject matter), I really don't see how the pricing for these particular texts at all presents a barrier of entry that hurts Buddhism.
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