Scarlet Imprint’s Digital Revelations

Well-respected esoteric publishers Scarlet Imprint, producers of high quality limited-edition volumes on such topics as the cult of Pomba Gira, Palo Mayombe, and magical grimoires, has announced that they are going to start releasing their titles as ebooks.

A selection of Scarlet Imprint titles.

A selection of Scarlet Imprint titles.

“The e-book hopefully means more people will read books. That can only be a good thing. It also means that we can create affordable versions of our work so that readers can take the risk on new authors and unfamiliar subjects. You can dare to read and enrich yourself outside of your field, perhaps you haven’t encountered Pomba Gira or Palo Mayombe before, or you want to see if the poetry cuts it. It allows you to travel with a library rather than dislocating your shoulder with a satchel full of books- as we often do. It makes unwieldy reference texts quickly searchable for research. To this end, we are issuing all of our future paperback Bibliotheque Rouge titles in epub and mobi format.”

The move is part of their Bibliotheque Rouge line, which made cheaper paperback editions of their high-quality collectors editions available to the general public, and this latest expansion is being made in hopes that by “embracing the digital revolution” they can “get these relevant voices of modern magick to the new generation.” How are small metaphysical booksellers reacting to this move by Scarlet Imprint? I spoke with David Wiegleb, owner of Fields Books in San Francisco, about the new digital turn, and he expressed support and optimism for Scarlet Imprint’s new initiative.

“I applaud Scarlet Imprint for making their materials available in a variety of formats. They have fine editions available for the collector, nicely designed standard editions for those who want a copy for their permanent library, Bibliotheque Rouge unlimited paperback edition for the curious, the budget conscious, and future readers, and now ebook editions for those that want them. And the ebooks probably substantially help their bottom line. As a bookseller (and as a reader), whenever I see a publisher pursue a strategy that helps them not only survive into the future, but do so in a way that honors their commitment to good material and well-produced physical books, I will celebrate it. It looks to be a strategy other publishers should emulate.”

Also enthused by Scarlet Imprint’s new digital editions is poet, performer, and writer Ruby Sara, who edited the publisher’s recent collection of esoteric poetry, “Datura,” and is currently working on their new poetry collection, “Mandragora.”

“From a publisher that has amply demonstrated its continued commitment to the fine-bound book, I think the decision to offer digital editions represents an excellent, relevant, and holistic approach to the entire project of book-making. It simultaneously affirms the important place of the bookbinder’s art while ensuring that the words themselves – the blood, sweat and tears of the writer/occultist – are accessible to all. I’m personally very excited that the poetry in Datura, and the forthcoming anthology Mandragora, will be even more accessible through a variety of mediums, from the tactile beauty of the physical books to the economy of the digital editions.”

All digital books can be purchased directly from Scarlet Imprint, and are being released in EPUB (Nook compatible) and MOBI (Kindle compatible) formats. In addition, the company says they’ll “replace lost files for you free of charge as long as the lights stay on.”

While other Pagan and esoteric publishers have made digital editions of their releases available in recent years, I think Scarlet Imprint’s move deserves special notice for making limited edition works accessible to a larger audience. Like it or not, e-readers are here to stay. Millions of people use iPads, Nooks, and Kindles to read books in a variety of contexts. While there will always be a place for traditionally published books, digital editions offer a cheap(er) and convenient way to  experience works that may not be easily acquired otherwise. It can also act as a deterrent to those who would pirate their books, removing the excuses of price or availability from normal rationales. Here’s hoping more specialty publishers make their works available in electronic formats, creating real options for those who prefer using e-readers. Our thanks to Scarlet Imprint for “offering a free and unfettered choice.”

About Jason Pitzl-Waters
  • http://www.facebook.com/EdAHubbard Ed Hubbard

    Exceptional…truly exceptional. I don’t even know how to state my joy at this steady movement to electronica.

  • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

    I am so excited about this! I can’t afford their books normally, but this puts them in my price range, even if I still can’t spring for my preferred format!

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      For the record, this works nicely with the eReaders for Linux. I’m quite pleased!

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    More good news, it is appreciated.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t wait to read more of their poetry

  • Lyradora

    “Devoted” is the one I have my eye on. :) I hope that is converted into digital format soon.

  • http://vermillionrush.wordpress.com Vermillion

    YESSSSSSSSSS.

    For the most part I use my e-reader for all the paperback books/hardcovers I don’t have room for & buy my spiritual books in hard copy but I’m running out of room for everything now. This is perfect! Thanks SI!

  • Pitch313

    One advantage to ebooks for Pagans, Heathens, and others who reside in small towns or communities no longer served by local bookstores is that somewhat hard-too-get volumes become once again easily available. I mean easily available without the days or weeks it may have taken to get a physical book via ordering and shipping it. (Some folks say that they like being able to get ebooks quickly.)

    I do not, however, think that ebooks will really have much bearing on theft of physical books. Ebooks, so far, have zero money re-sale value. No “used” ebook market exists, and DRM fetters the possibility of such an one. What’s more, ebooks have no collectible or scarcity value. As items to possess that few other possess. (Folks have pointed out that DRM can be hacked, and ebooks replicated in the undergroundz of the internetz.)


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