updated: 09 Jul 2004
Unfortunately, in my pursuit of a non-economical version of success, I don't find myself with really any extra money I can spend on books. So when I shoplift copies of Ishmael and Story of B from corporate bookstores and use them to spread the message, am I taking any food off your plate?
...and the response:
When it comes to shoplifting copies of my books to distribute, the situation is somewhat different. If it were just a matter of "taking food off my plate," I'd probably say, "Sure, go ahead, a buck or two isn't going to kill me," but in fact shoplifting my books doesn't cost me anything at all. A bookstore has to pay for the books that leave its premises whether they're paid for or not, so the matter of shoplifting is different from the other. Someone definitely does lose, but it isn't me, it's the bookstore. Of course, bookstores routinely expect to lose two or three percent of their profits to shoplifting, but this doesn't mean I can endorse it as a means of promoting my work. On this, your conscience must be your own.
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