The Survey, The Problem, A Solution, and an Ad

First Some Boring Numbers
I just completed another Wycliffe Associates promotional banquet speaking tour. Here are some numbers: 5 weeks, 6 states, 24 cities, 5,600 kilometres/3,500 miles. We started in North Dakota on the border of Minnesota, an hour’s drive south of the Manitoba border, then traveled south into Iowa and south-west to Colorado, 30 kilometres/20 miles from New Mexico, and as far west as 40 kilometres/25 miles from Utah.

The Reason I Bored You with These Statistics
Every night after I speak, I offer my books for purchase by guests as they leave. And every night people happily buy whole sets of the three printed books and the two ebooks. Very nice. Good for them. Good for me.

But what bothers me is that in city after city, along the entire route, many hundreds of people shake my hand and say,
“Your stories are so inspiring! Thank you so much for coming!” but when I invite them to buy my books with even more inspiring stories, they give me any number of reasons why they won’t.

Favorite Reason for Not Reading
A frequent one is “I am just so busy, I just don’t have time to read.”
I sometimes joke with them, “Buy my books and for only $10 more, I’ll pray ten times a day for ten days and ask God to give you time to read them.”

Others, especially older folk, mention poor eyesight, or extreme light sensitivity that makes reading difficult. Some tell me they love to learn by listening, but just can’t get anything from reading. A few confess they loved reading as a child but learned to hate it during their school years.

By far the most popular reason given is, “Sorry, I have too many books on my shelves already. I just can’t buy any more.”

A Suggestion That Will Work
I know what they mean. My wife and I, too, used to have many books on many shelves. But a few years ago, we asked ourselves, “Are we readers or librarians?”

We decided that we were readers and that books existed to be read and enjoyed, not just to sit on shelves and gather dust.

We started by pulling out books we had read and probably wouldn’t read again. We also culled books we had once thought we might like to read, but which had been sitting there for a long time and we probably were not going to read.

Two Out for One In

Two Out for One In

We are still working at it. Our current policy is, for every book we acquire we give away two books. This “two books out the door for each one coming in” is an excellent downsizing measure. Not only that, it keep us opening and reading books we really do want to read.

And have you noticed, when you open a book, it tends to open you?

***This is the end of my column***
Now here is the advertisement.

Just In Case You Got Inspired to Buy Books
My second ebook will be published this summer.

The Why and How of Bible Translation: What Every Christian Should Know, but few do . . . very few. In this ebook you will

  • Discover why in some instances Mark and Luke did not quote Jesus exactly as Matthew did, and why today’s translators need to follow their example.
  • Find out why it is sometimes essential for translators to clearly state explicitly in the target language what is merely implied in the Greek text.
  • Read why support for Bible translation would skyrocket among Christians if linguistics was taught as widely as biology, chemistry or physics.

Here are the links to my books—three printed collections of 52 easy-to-read, true-life stories, the kind of inspiring books you definitely will read. Order them through these links, and while waiting for them to arrive, make some room on your shelves by giving away some other books.

A Poke in the Ribs:
A Kick in the Pants:
A Bonk on the Head:
A Tickle in the Funny Bone: my first ebook, read it on your Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad, tablet, laptop, or computer. Download it as many times as you want in whatever format you need. Yes, it is funny. It needs to be to counteract all those physically abusive titles of the print books.