Long time no see!
Lately, I have been in the middle of plenty of discussions regarding Wish’s Tarot knock-offs and whether or not it is right to purchase decks from there. While many people do it out of ignorance, which can be understandable, others stand for their right to save a few bucks or appeal to the fact that they cannot afford a more expensive deck.
While I understand how being in dire straits is, I can say that one cannot have a mouth full of love for the Tarot Community while stabbing our creators in the back by stealing their artwork in order to save some bucks.
“But everyone should have the right to read Tarot!” some will say. Well, there are quite a few ways in which you can start to read Tarot from $0 to $10 that I will enumerate in a little while! In the meanwhile, let’s go with some of the reasons why this is so many levels of fucked up.
Taking the free out of freelance.
Being freelance is not free. Don’t let the word trick you into thinking otherwise! I cannot talk about taxes in the US or other parts of the world, but it is not free, anywhere. In my country, being freelance has a monthly cost that is not low and that you pay just for working, plus trimestrial and yearly tax reports that should be filled and paid for.
Taxes aside, art can start by having a special talent, but developing a talent is not free. Courses, lessons, materials, let alone time of the artist’s life that will never come back go into their growth as artists and their creations, none of them for free. All of this happens, fortunately, in a house which maintenance is far from free either. So next time you feel entitled to saving a few bucks, give a thought to how much someone else is entitled to be paid for their work.
How much is a deck actually worth?
Focusing on the deck itself. Meaning, 78 pieces of printed cardboard, a booklet and a box, let alone the countless hours of work put before everything else happens. This may give you an estimate.
More often than not, indie decks go for fancier finishes, luxury cardstock, sometimes edgings and they tend to come in a fancy sturdy box. What’s the cost of that?
On the top of my head, without being a professional and having consulted several online printers, (which may not be the choice of some artists), provided that we have a run of 1000 decks in 310gsm cardstock (not the thickest but a decent quality), glossy finish, a custom tuck-box, shrink wrapped deck and box and a simple booklet of 12 pages (that is a very short explanation in just one language) I get an estimate of around $10 per deck. (It’s actually $9 and some cents, but for the sake of the argument let’s say $10).
This means that the artist, in order to get their 1000 deck run (which would be pretty ambitious) has to pay $10k just to begin with. Free? Where?
If our artist is being a bit more conservative about their expectations about the sales and they go with a more modest run of 500 we go up to $14 per deck.
This is no fancy gildings, no fancy book, no fancy edgings and stuff. Just a plain but decent quality deck.
Now let’s add a price to their art, a compensation for the hours spent, materials, campaigns, sleepless nights, marketing, handling… And come tell me they don’t deserve to charge 40 damn bucks for their deck!
In the case of a mass market edition, the cost of the deck itself is way lower, which may go down to a production cost of $3. However, there are also people working there, in this case, we are not just speaking about the artist. We are speaking about the artist who gets a percentage, editors who make deals with artists and need to be paid, printers who need to be paid in order to produce the deck, people who work at the printer and need to be paid in order for the printer to work, and so on! A whole bunch of people who deserve a salary about as much as you do.
Authors and Artists
It’s a fact universally unacknowledged that not all authors are the artists of their decks. An author is the person who comes up with the idea, perhaps writes a book, and an artist is the person they hire to bring their idea to paper. That’s two people to give credit to and two people who deserve to be paid for what they do.
Your rights end where someone else’s begin
You have the right to learn Tarot? Sure! That doesn’t make you entitled to other people’s work. Simple as that.
Do you want a free deck? Lemme give you a hand.
Tarot decks for $0
>>> Darktarot.com offers two printable decks free to download for personal use. Get crafty, print the deck and glue it to a cartuline! They may not be fancy, but they will surely satisfy your Tarot rights!
Tarot decks under $10 (As of April 5th, 2018)
>>> Xultun Mayan Tarot deck $8.37
>>> Kawaii Tarot $8.77
>>> Tarot: The Complete Kit $9.39
*If these prices vary, you can go to Amazon, The Book Depository (With free worldwide shipping!) or the like, and give an eye to what they have on sale.
Other ways of getting a Tarot deck for free!
>>> Your birthday.
>>> Christmas, Yule, Hannukah, your wedding anniversary, begging to a friend.
>>> Participating in giveaways.
Support your community
It is not a matter of being holier than thou, it is just a matter of consistency. Let “Karma” out of the speech (at the end of the day, what’s the value of doing something for fear / hope of a retribution?) even legal matters, energies and the like.
You simply cannot speak love, brotherhood and closeness with your Tarot Community while you steal from your own community, period.
Wish is known for selling counterfeited decks, copied and poor quality material in general. When you purchase a deck from Wish, you are contributing to the theft to continue.
How to spot a counterfeited deck
Ever heard “if it’s too good to be true it probably is?” it applies to this just as it applies to everything else. Anyway, these are some hints.
>>> It comes from Russia, China or Lithuania.
>>> It is way cheaper than the average price.
>>> It is an out of print deck for a ridiculous price. (You never know who’s selling what, but if they have a lot of them to sell, they come from suspicious places and they are too cheap and with no apparent flaw, rethink it!)
>>> Some famous decks that are currently being counterfeited: Buckland’s Romani Tarot, Witches Tarot, Prisma Visions Tarot, Wild Unknown Tarot.
>>> When in doubt, in the era of Facebook, Outlook, Skype, Ryanair and Whatsapp just contact the artist, send them an e-mail or check it up on your Facebook Tarot group!