I´m fairly new to occult in general and occult books in particular, so I´ve been reading lots recently. Some of the books are rarely discussed, and some have suspicious things written in them. So my question is - what are your tell-tale signs that a book is a piece of crap or a meaningless cashgrab? Preferably before reading it all the way through
Very hard to reply. Follow your own "value standards", also be sure to check out the others folks opinions (reviews, comments). Because there are some claims in occult books that simply are not true. For ex. claim that one needs psychotherapy before magic studies. That is false claim at least for my own "value standards".
But if you want really one "tell-tale" sign for bad book for me it is when book has become tool for advertising. Instead to offering enough instructions author actually is using book to attract you to his/hers workshops, webinars...
It is very difficult to say which is good which is bad when it comes to occult. One key thing to look for is when author claims that this book is enough to know when you get started or it is a complete with everything about a particular subject and also when an author slanders another author repeatedly. One word of advice, don't buy any Crowley's books as a beginner, it's all lofty very expensive, not worth the salt.
What is a good book or a bad book? Are you looking for a book with seven surefire spells to get a girlfriend? Then an academic work about grimoires would not be right for you and vice versa.
I am always sceptic when an author claims to be the one who discovered something new nobody had seen before. It could be right but most of the time it is just a slight variation of something already known.
Well, I do like to read both types. A bad book for me would be one filled with misinformation regarding mythos or history or a really incorrect way of performing a ritual (so that it could end unpleasant for me). I can tell fairly well if a ritual feels iffy, but the former is quite hard to find proof for. Like many authors like to put it "you won´t find this information on the internet, I´ve found it in this old mysterious book" or smth along the lines.
As a book guy. I say dependes. U can be a emphata. Or look pierre macedo brazilian i tnk. Who had a book in witchraft, which mix goetia. Demon. Magic, etc whit all the basics needs. Money, sex, etc. Most damon brand are $5.and up. The new books such teodore rose, $7,the crappy unknw, $3.most say money manifestation, etc. Riches soon. Mind matters, etc. Tey are crap. Same thing or talk to much tosay in 4 pages. Its why sometimes paying $12,for 4 pages work better.