Please read this before requesting a copy of Dirty Medicine. The active link to request a copy is found at the end of this page.

Shortly after Martin Walker's book was put online in this library, I received a letter from the author protesting my having rendered the book into an e-text. There ensued a conversation via email, which is reproduced below. Before proceding to the end and downloading the book, please read this correspondence and see if you might wish to financially support Martin Walker.

Thank you,
Steve Solomon
Soil and Health Library


>>> Enquiry from
>>> _____
>>> Contact Information
>>> Name : Martin J Walker
>>> Email : fraka at
>>> Comments :
>>> Dear Steve,
>>> My name is Martin J Walker, I am the author of Dirty Medicine amongst
>>> other books about health and society.
>>> I have just found your site and was completely bowled over by the
>>> bibliographic information on it. A little corner of paradise on the
>>> internet.
>>> However, I have to tell you, three or four years ago, I gave the
>>> complete distribution rights to Dirty Medicine in e-book form to a
>>> person who had laboured long and hard to reproduce the book in its
>>> original form. Since that time it has been on sale at a very low return
>>> to me on his site.
>>> While your library is unbelievable and I would be the last person to
>>> raise issues with it, clearly your freely available e-book is
>>> undercutting my attempts to raise small amounts of revenue from my book
>>> - or so it would appear.
>>> Perhaps we might talk about this.
>>> Regards,
>>> Martin


>> Martin,
>> Thank you for offering conversation instead of threats. I am much in
>> admiration of your book and because of that willingly invested quite a few
>> hours longer in the title's preparation than the task might have taken
>> because I had to clean up a lousy scan of your book that was sent by a
>> friend (20 hours, 45 minutes it took me). Had the scan been a sharp one the
>> book probably would have taken more like 12 hours of my time to render.
>> Dirty Medicine has not been on my site for very long: 12 June this year, in
>> fact. I did a check on downloads and find I have served up 19 copies of
>> Dirty Medicine since that date.

>> I am of mixed minds regarding your (I don't know what to call it . . .
>> complaint?) letter. Legally your book is out of print as this is currently
>> defined for Australian libraries. Humanly I'd much prefer to arrive at some
>> sort of understanding with you that allows the book to remain maximally
>> available because it is an important book. Ultimately I will probably remove
>> the book from the library if you do object--after all, it is YOUR effort and
>> I do believe you are entitled to make the most from it. But I ask you to
>> consider this: might you be willing to donate some of your possible revenues
>> in the interest of helping the planet? You wrote the book for that purpose.
>> I know this is the case because I write books on vegie gardening that have
>> been published, have done this since 1980, have perhaps ten such titles in
>> my vita and have never received royalty income from these books
>> commensurate with the effort.

>> Based on six weeks of statistics it is likely that ten to fifteen people
>> every month will take advantage of the opportunity to read your book from
>> my site. Is that not a great result?
>> Steve
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Soil and Health Website"
>> To: "Stevel Solomon"
>> Sent: Monday, July 31, 2006 3:58 AM
>> Subject: Enquiry from


> Dear Steve,
> Thanks for your e-mail. There are two matters and a small thought of
> importance to me here.
> First, I am 60 next year and I have been and am now, utterly broke and also
> in debt to various people for relatively large amounts of money. This is
> solely because I have ploughed on regardless with my writing even through
> weeks when myself, my wife and our five year old son, literally have had no
> money for food. I am not a writer to whom agents and publishers have ever
> paid the slightest attention, I wrote DM with money which I begged, stole and
> borrowed and printed it with the same, the printing of two issues of the
> book cost somewhere in the region of £25,000 - partly it was
> so expensive because I was personally attacked and the printer was attacked
> as were any retailers who were brave enough initially to stock the book. I
> sold all the copies of the book through mail order and for a couple of years
> I was 'on the run' (almost) having to move distribution from place to place,
> fearing attacks. I can now see copies of the book on sale on Abebooks and
> other sites at US$150 and this makes me desperately unhappy. I have had many
> offers to reprint but not one which is to my liking so far. I would like to
> continue gaining some revenue from this book.
> Second, I gave my word to Ivan, the person to whom I ceded the sole rights
> to distribute the book as an e-book, that what he could have were, the sole
> rights. I gave him these rights because he was the only person who put his
> money where his mouth was and spent some weeks, copying the manuscript
> electronically, correcting it and reproducing an e-manuscript which is an
> exact replica of the original manuscript, he also gave to me, as I asked
> him, a complete Word version of the book for me to work on for another
> printing. So I feel I have an obligation here. (To see Ivan's site, click here:)
> My final small thought on the matter is, I am very much a live and active
> writer who has contacts all over the world and is, I hope known for my
> generosity and fair dealings with radicals and people on the fringe. I think
> that you should have contacted me before you did anything with my most
> important book. If you had, I would undoubtedly have come to a very swift
> arrangement with you because I am completely in favour of your project.
> So, what can be done.
> Let me say to begin with, that 10-15 people a month is far in excess of the
> numbers who are buying the download from Ivan - this makes me unhappy not
> happy, simply because I need the money so desperately.
> I have two proposals, you might agree with one of them.
> A. You could restrict lending rights to those people who live in
> Australia.
> B. You could insert a piece of text at the end of the books description,
> which I could check and says roughly. 'Martin Walker survives as a writer by
> the skin of his teeth and while he is more than happy to have his book sent
> out for no charge to people who have little or no money, he would much
> prefer professionals or those with money, to buy the e-book version of DM
> which is to be found at his web site:'
> If we can come to an agreement on this, I would be more than happy, and
> would donate to your library e-versions of my two before last books, SKEWED,
> which is about CFS, GWS and MCS and Brave New World of Zero Risk, which is
> about science medicine and lobby groups. I would however, like the same
> proviso to be put with the bibliographic information about these two
> books.
> My latest book which came out a month ago, is called HRT Licensed to Kill
> and Maim. If there is any way you might help me sell this book in Australia
> I would be glad to know of it. Perhaps you know some way in which we could
> get reviews placed. You can read about the book on the slingshot web site.
> Regards, Martin

on 30/7/06 21:22, Steve Solomon wrote:

Dear Martin,

Your letter constitutes a most generous offer.

I regret that I cannot restrict downloads to Australians other than by
moral suasion. I have no idea of how to do so as a matter of computer
programming. I could insert copy to the effect that you ask that
non-Australians to not download but instead to purchase from the site you've
arrangements with. Frankly, this would not do much good.

I have moused around Slingshot's site, and it is professional and
effective. But as you say, Ivan is not generating much income for you.
About inserting a bit of copy with the book, I would cheerfully do as
you ask, but consider this: instead of putting something at the end of the
description linking to the download, I would prefer to set it up so that
when someone clicks that link, instead of jumping directly to the client
declaration form they are taken to another page that contains this entire
conversation between us (this email), with two links at the very bottom of
that page to download a copy: one link to slingshot; one to my own library,
the client then makes the choice. I would insert copy by those links that
inform the user that Slingshot charges £10 and provides a slightly more
refined version.

I would be pleased to to exactly the same thing with your earlier two
books if that be your pleasure. You are a great writer and a brilliant
analyst of subjects of vital concern.

And please accept my regrets that I have no ability to promote your
newest book other than to mention its existence should the topic come up in
any conversation or communication I am having. Which I will do.
And I will remove your book instantly if, after all this conversation,
that be your request.

Incidentally, do you like the rendition I made of your book?


If you wish to download a free copy of Martin Walker's book Dirty Medicine from the Soil and Health Library, click here.

If you wish to financially support Martin Walker then pay £8 to download a copy from Slingshot Publications. I believe you will receive a somewhat more accurate reproduction of the book. Click here.