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Literature Prices and Postage

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I’m a member of a virtual group, and neither my current hometown nor the place I’m planning to move to has an OA presence. My virtual meeting doesn’t have literature for sale. For every bit of literature I own, I have paid exorbitant prices and postage. I understand that service offices need to cover the cost of printing, but an OA pamphlet that has basically been gifted by the Fellowship for Twelfth Step (not service) purposes should not be sold to make profit for other administrative functions. OA should be self-supporting through member contributions, not by selling its Twelfth Step. “Give freely of what you find and join us,” says page 164 of Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition, which is available for free on the internet. Why not make pamphlets and books available free of charge in digital formats for individual members? Failing this, why not make them available for sale at nominal prices?

I am the current Board of Trustees treasurer, and I do have compassion for your situation. Having served on the board for the past six years, I can share with you that the discussion on the cost of literature and shipping has come up many times. If OA was fully self-supporting, reducing the cost of literature would definitely be something the board would want to consider. However, the OA organization is dependent upon its literature sales to support other departments of OA that are non-revenue producing. The board has made every effort to reduce costs and find ways to keep our expenses within a strict budget, but the work done by the World Service Office is important and its expenditures are relevant. We will continue to look at this situation and make changes that work for all of OA.

I will also offer a technical correction: the work done at the World Service Office doesn’t fall under Twelfth Step work. This valuable work is discussed in Tradition Eight, which reminds us that there is work to be accomplished that is beyond what our Fellowship can do as volunteers.

One suggestion I can offer is to purchase e-books since they do not require additional shipping costs. Another would be to reach out to your closest intergroup to see if they might be able to supply you with some literature. I know of several examples within my own region where support exists for meetings that need donated literature. Such opportunities to do Twelfth Step work are welcomed by members.

— Members of the Board of Trustees provide Answers to Ask-It Basket questions

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