eBooks and shape of future of free publications - Golden Age is coming

eBooks and shape of future of free publications

While browsing on Internet, I was surprised to find free several theosophical publications are available on Barnes & Noble’s Nook eReader. All these free books are out of print books. The eBook phenomenon in books - both old and new - is taking off and the current attraction is the immediate download and low prices. There is a push to keep the prices low to attract larger readership by keeping the royalties higher at lower selling prices. With thousands of inexpensive software applications available on iPhone and iPad, there is going to be more downward pressure on eBook prices in the future. Added to it is the ability of the authors to bypass the publishing overhead and offer eBooks at a very low price. The major threat to the hard copy publishing is from fast inexpensive scanners which can convert books quickly to electronic form. This may already be happening since it is lot more convenient to load an electronic file on to a computer or phone or tablet computer than carry heavy books.

Really spiritual enterprises have an unique opportunity, which I hope some of them - including theosophical ones - take advantage of. Most spiritual enterprises are the results of volunteer who are driven by a cause which they are convinced will do good to our fellow men and women. This combined with inexpensive distribution channel available is a very powerful combination which even multi-million dollar operation cannot touch because these are driven by profit motive only.

Let us keep tuned for the golden age of spiritual information that awaits Humanity. Each of us, who are driven by a noble cause, can contribute to this and help the ‘Orphan Humanity.’

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Comment by M K Ramadoss on August 10, 2011 at 9:02am
Thanks for the information.
Am sure many would benefit by the new ebooks.
Hope other theo publishers would follow soon.
Comment by Capt. Anand Kumar on August 4, 2011 at 9:11am

Archeological Survey of India has recently completed digitizing its library and a number of these books are available for download at:

http://sanskritdocuments.org/scannedbooks/asiallpdfs.html

 

Some of the very rare books on Budhism are available here.

Comment by Capt. Anand Kumar on July 7, 2011 at 11:28pm
Just to bring this discussion back on track, can we send out a call to our memebers, who are willing to share, to digitize the books in their possession and upload it for the general public under Creative Commons license, as MKR suggested. We would need to think it through though, as to which books qualify and how to assist members in digitizing them etc.
Comment by Michael A. Williams on July 7, 2011 at 10:16pm

You're right, Joe, that did come up last time. I should have said that it's a great idea in theory, but a hefty challenge to actually get it done.

It would need investment money to get it done in any reasonable time frame. And, as you say, a separate book based on the SD and HPB's writings. Theosophical scholars of that caliber would require some kind of payment to keep them working full time, plus high quality graphic artists for the visuals would also have to be paid to keep the momentum going. Volunteer work would end up with a stop-and-go process that would take years, if the interest could even be kept up.

A small tight knit group of dedicated, knowledgeable and like-minded people would be needed to oversee the project. I'm sure there would still be plenty of disagreements and conflicts among them.

But, who knows, maybe some day someone or some people will drum up the money and enthusiasm to start it and carry it off.

Comment by Michael A. Williams on July 7, 2011 at 4:13pm

Great ideas, both of you!

Joe, you had an idea last year that "The Secret Doctrine" could use lots of color infographics to illustrate the various metaphysical concepts. That this would bring it up to speed, along with some judicious editing, for the 21st Century. Too bad that project isn't moving forward.


Moderator
Comment by M K Ramadoss on July 7, 2011 at 2:30pm
Glad you brought it up. Since a picture can say thousand words, a video presentation can say 10,000 words and those of us who have the knowledge and expertise should jump at the opportunity today.
Comment by Michael A. Williams on July 7, 2011 at 1:32pm

M K, I agree with you that metaphysical/spiritual material can be presented in multivarious ways, and using the multi-media we have now. I join with you in hoping more material is presented to the public in free and low cost digital formats as soon as possible.

To use the phrase "secret knowledge" is really misleading. It's more a matter of "advanced" or "higher" understanding. And, you're right, it is really conveyed in a non-verbal manner. Snippets of it have leaked out in some kind of verbal form, leading some to think this is all there is to it, so "all has been revealed." It appears that one's consciousness has to be prepared and open to this, or it will come off as nonsense or a blank.

I often wonder if it isn't a clever rouse for a metaphysical group, organization or tradition to deny they have any "higher" or "secret" teachings and paint any inquiry into such as "laughable," as a way to deflect attention away from them and back onto the people asking the question.


Moderator
Comment by M K Ramadoss on July 7, 2011 at 1:25am

Here are my comments on Michael A. Williams' recent post:

 

While we are yet to see any interest from organizational leaders any interest in such publications, all it needs is for one or two of them from around the world start doing it, we will see a snowball effect.

Spiritual material can be presented from different angles as well as explained in multivarious ways and hence any new presentations would be helpful.

This is an old question. A P Sinnett, asked one of his Adept correspondents about occult secret materials presented in written form. The Adept replied that real occult secrets cannot be put in writing and if that were so, then a book like grammar can be written. If anyone suggests that anyone is holding back to secret spiritual teachings, it is just laughable.

Comment by Michael A. Williams on July 7, 2011 at 12:21am

Captain, I cannot comment directly on how things have happened or are now happening in India as regards to Brahmins and the caste system and the power plays. I'm sure your views have validity as you are from that culture and traditions.  Perhaps there are others from India that have a slightly different perspective that we'll never hear from here. I don't know.

I regards to the West, it's known that in about every metaphysical school there is the exoteric teachings for the masses(and I'm not referring to any kind of economic scale, as many well-to-do folks have a mundane understanding of spiritual matters and many in the lower economic scale are quite advanced) and the esoteric teachings for the more committed and those who have reached a certain higher level consciousness.

And, among the more committed members, it seems that always an "inner circle" forms. Even in the Krishnamurti Foundation it happened, and that from a man who publicly denounced such things. I may point out, that inner circle was, and is, based in Ojai, California, USA.

Bringing this back to the TS, what got me thinking along these lines was a statement here in another forum by, I think, M K Ramadoss. He mentioned that a high ranking Theosophist was on a lecture tour and at one stop someone produced a copy of an old Theosophical treatise or ritual for him to look at, stating it may have profound value. The man looked it over, put it in his pocket and it was never heard about again. (If I got this wrong, perhaps M K could correct it)

It could indicate that some elite is keeping certain material from being disseminated. I know there are skeptics here who will immediately denounce this, so I'll let them have their say.

Comment by Capt. Anand Kumar on July 6, 2011 at 11:21pm

Thanks Michael. You have asked the questions which have been asked previously by the distinguished members of the TS to me in my interactions with them on exactly this topic.

 

My view on the first question is that assigning a self-aasumed role of an evaluator of the eligibility of any person to receive the knowledgein a convenient format does not fit into the objects of the TS which requires people to have an open mind and explore rather than restrict. I usually quote the example of Eklavya from Mahabharat where the great tecaher Dronacharya had declared him unift to be his disciple on the basis of his caste. The teacher himself erred as the story proves. This eligibility criteria is infructuous and only indicative of the arrogance out of narrow mindedness. If the motto is to serve then that services should come without pre-conditions.

 

As to the second question, even the greats of the TS like HPB, T Subba Row, the Mahatmas and others have employed the age old sales technique of giving a tantalizing preview to the customer to entice him to buy the product. All this talk about revealing the powerful secret teachings has not been hppeend so far because it does not exist with them, although that was one of the objects for setting up of the TS.  Also the talk about such knowledge being dangerous for the humanity is equally infructuous as the knowledge about the most destructive element in the universe - Fire - would never have come to the humanity otherwise. TS is not even original in advancing such arguments as the Brahmins used such arguments to keep the social and political power to themselves for ages before the TS came into being.

 

A quick read of chapters titled "Info-Tactics" and "Meta-Tactics" from Alvin Toffler's 1990 bestseller "Powershift" will illustrate this point further.

 

Kindly forgive the use of harsh words.

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