I've just come back from a second-hand bookshop that I like, on account of their reasonably large Esoteric / New Age (
) section where they happen to store their 2nd hand Buddhist books. They usually have a decent number of books at a decent price and so long as I don't go there any more than once every few months, I'll generally find a thing or two worth picking up.
I bought a few books today, one of which is a beautiful copy of the Dhammapada, translated by K. Sri Dhammananda, complete with the traditional associated stories that accompany each verse, lots of nice artwork etc. It's 672 pages in total so it's one epic production and set to become a treasured Dhamma book in my home.
However, and here's the twist... it was originally published by a Buddhist society in Malaysia for free distribution, and the bookshop certainly didn't give it to me for free! Someone somewhere along the chain of events has not acted in accordance with the intention of the publishers.
I thought it might be interesting to open up a discussion on the ethics and logistics of the trade of second-hand Dhamma books intended for free distribution. Is there any blame to be apportioned? Is there anything to gain by not purchasing such books, which you would otherwise happily pay the cash for? Are there people actively profiteering from the sale of free Dhamma books, or it is an accidental or unintended process?
All thoughts, comments etc. welcome.