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We distribute more than 5,000 books a week, and in the process of distributing them, we often meet people who recommend other books to us, including some that they have written themselves. Various religious and political groups also offer us magazines, tracts, and other literature, sometimes in exchange for the books that we are distributing.

When this happens, it presents something of an ethical dilemma. We want them to read our stuff, and so it is easy to think that we should do the right thing and read their stuff in return. Yet if we were to do that, we could spend hundreds of hours ploughing through all of the literature that is offered to us each week.

So this is how I have approached the matter. First, I give them a chance to interest me in the book or whatever. "What does your book say that you think I will find of interest?" I ask. If they cannot put it into a few words, or if they do put it into a few words, but what they say doesn't really interest me, then I should not feel obligated to read their material. As tactfully as possible, I just tell them that I am not interested.

But what about us expecting them to read our material? To be fair, we should not expect them to read our material if they are not interested. And that is my approach. When I'm distributing the books and someone says, "I have a whole shelf full of books at home that I have not read yet," I say something like, "I know just how you feel." And that is the end of my spiel.

I could go on and tell them a bit more about my book. But the fact is that we have plenty of other people who avidly read what we are saying, and sooner or later, I expect these people who refuse the offer the first time it is made to hear about it from them. The very fact that I do not push the book onto them arouses the curiosity of some people, and then they ask me to tell them more about the book.

This is a radical approach to advertising and selling. I firmly believe that there are too many books in the world already. As Solomon said, "There is no end to the making of books." So selling should just be a matter of making people aware of your product, and making it easily available to them. If it is a good product, and if your price is a good price, then it will sell itself after that. Such has certainly been the case with our books. People buy them by the thousands... in fact, by the hundreds of thousands without us having to twist their arms. And this is happening without us even putting them into the book stores.

The reason I quit working as a journalist many years ago was because I believed that I had found something in the teachings of Jesus which could make better news than the stuff I was writing. What we are saying is (a) relevant, (b) interesting, and (c) radical. Those three ingredients (or at least one of them) have often been left out of what the churches preach.

The idea of living forever, for example, is relevant, and interesting. But when everyone is preaching it, and the general public has heard variations of it from so many different sources, it ceases to interest them anymore, and they, frankly, do not find it convincing. What the "eternal life" message needs is a radical facelift, and the appropriate facelift comes when it is preached by someone who lives like they really believe in it. We are doing that. And people are listening.

It hasn't made us very popular in the churches, but it has caught the imagination of the media and the general public. And that is exactly the point. If our books are not relevant, interesting, and radical, then it is unfair for us to expect the public to read them. And if theirs are not equally relevant, interesting, and radical, then it is unfair of them to expect that we should read them.

All books are not created equal, and it is our job to determine which ones deserve the many hours that it takes to read them, and which are not. I believe that what we are saying is worth that time; and the response that we continue to get from the general public bears that out. Even our enemies are reading what we have to say.

So I can ask you with confidence to "please, read my book."

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