At the Netroots Nation convention in August, I was lucky enough to be given a new copy of Marijuana is Safer by Steve Fox, Paul Armentano and Mason Tvert.
Browsing through this book got me wondering: should LEAP publish its own book? What I have in mind is a collection of essays written by LEAP speakers. Perhaps one third of the book could contain essays already published, like Jack Cole's End Prohibition Now. The remaining two thirds could focus on new content.
On the "yes" side: it would help raise money, which is important because we are a non-profit organization. It would provide a new medium for spreading LEAP's message, particularly if we could get the book into libraries and bookstores around the world. Some people may perceive LEAP to be more credible and well rounded if we had our own book. It also would provide a chance for unpublished speakers, like myself, to put our ideas and experiences into print.
On the "no" side: it takes a lot of time and effort to publish a book. Also, as Peter Moskos explains, most books don't make a lot of money. Publishing a book might distract LEAP at a critical point in our growth. (Also: does anyone actually reads books anymore?)
There is no shortage of authors at LEAP. Norm Stamper wrote Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing. Judge Jim Gray wrote Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs. Moskos published Cop in the Hood. Many other speakers have published articles and research papers (see, for example, Hon. Maria Lucia Karam's excellent essay Prohibition Causes Most of the Harms Associated to Drugs.
It seems as though many drug policy organizations are publishing books as a means of fostering awareness about drug prohibition. Members of SAFER, as mentioned earlier, recently published Marijuana is Safer. Transform is about to release the third book in its trilogy about drug policy, titled After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for a Regulated Market.
What do you think? Should LEAP publish a book?