According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary means ‘illegal or improper activity or behaviour’.
I am – among many other things – a self-publishing Tarot creator. I generally create ‘odd’, uncommercial decks. It is my opinion that the Tarot primordially is an instrument of preserving and transmitting esoteric knowledge (wisdom).
I do not have the possibility to print and store larger quantities of my decks, let’s say 2000 copies, which, obviously, means considerably lower production costs. At this point, I only can offer print-on-demand decks, which means that each deck is printed and shipped individually, and it means higher production costs. While printing one deck of regular Tarot deck on-demand, only the cards, on high-quality cardstock and with high-quality colours, varnish and printing technology is about 23 USD. Printing the exact same deck at the same quality, but 2000 copies may lower the cost to 9 USD. If you want to place the cards in a nice rigid box, the price of the boxes is almost identical with the one of the cards. The shipping costs are continually growing, and they kind of exploded recently with the COVID pandemic. Sure, I could find cheaper printing partners, but I am not willing to make compromises regarding the quality of my products.
I have a hexagonal-shaped Tarot deck which, due to its shape, is somewhat more expensive than a regular Tarot deck. I sell this item, in tuck box and with printed mini-booklet at 78 USD, shipping included. It means about 69 EUR.
I also run an Etsy shop cause some people are more confident to buy from a popular site than directly from my website. This lack of confidence has its costs.
The same item which is 69 Euro on my website, in my Etsy shop is on sale at 79 EUR. However, the customer pays 87.22 EUR for the product as Etsy adds a sale tax of 8.22 EUR on top of its listing price.
After Etsy applies all their fees and taxes, they transfer to me 55.50 EUR, which means Etsy’s share is 31.72 EUR. That includes a ‘marketing fee’ – which meanwhile I managed to cancel for further transactions – which is 11.80 EUR. I was not aware of this option, and it is my fault. However, I find the value of this ‘Etsy’s Offsite Ads’ incredibly high. Practically, with that extra fee, they have taken away my entire margin of profit. Because from that 55.50 EUR I further lose money on transfer and banking fees, I have to pay taxes, and what’s left will not cover the cost of producing and shipping the deck.
Some people may believe that we, creators, are some greedy, self-centred assholes. Well, I believe that most of the creators are putting a lot of time and effort into these decks. In the past two years, I created more than 10 decks and published 9. It was more than a ‘regular’ job with not as much reward.
Anyway, next time when you buy on Wish, eBay, Amazon, whatever, a Tarot deck for 10 USD, just keep in mind that you probably buy a cheap and most likely counterfeit product. When it is possible, only purchase decks directly from the creators or publishers and avoid putting money in the pockets of vultures.