We sell no literature in our meetings. Our literature table is in the lobby, where all must pass by on their way out. But there is one principle that I rigidly observe : We are not in the bookselling business. Our sales of Crisis books have run from a maximum of forty-three in a single evening, to as low as ten: The average has been sixteen. We make it clear that there is no personal profit from the sale of these books. We have them there for the convenience of those who want them. We have endeavored to secure the very best books obtainable, covering the various subjects considered in our lecture series, as well as health subjects. We invite people to stop at the literature table and look at the books, with no obligation whatever to buy them.
At the end of a lecture, after the special closing song and just before the benediction, I hold up one or two books, explaining to the congregation that I was able to secure something for them on the subject of the evening, which I can assure them is dependable and in full harmony with the Bible. I explain that while the subject is not handled just as I handled it, nevertheless it will go into more detail on a number of points than I was able to in the limited time I had. I explain that in thinking of the subject afterward, or in talking about it with their neighbors and friends, they will doubtless want to recall certain points, but perhaps will not be able to do so, unless they have one of these books.
Sometimes I say, "I want to tell you about a wonderful little book I have secured on the subject we have studied this evening. I find that this book is a remarkable setting forth of the subject. It is so very good that I find myself wishing I could present each one of you with a copy, but of course I am unable to do that. Stop at the literature table, however, and look at this book. It may be that this is just what you have been wanting."
After our meetings were well under way, I took a few minutes one evening to explain that beginning that very night, we would give away a fine book valued at $2.75 ("Facing the Crisis"), every meeting night, to the one who sat in a certain seat. I selected three different seats, so that should a child sit in one, or one of our own people, I would still have another choice. The one who sits in the "right" seat, gets the book. I have the usher get the person's name and address on a card, and then, just before the lecture begins, we call that person to the front and present the book, explaining that we now have an investment in him and that henceforth we shall be especially interested in him. We explain the nature and value of the book, and present one of these books every meeting night, selecting a different seat each time, and endeavoring, as far as possible, to select seats where we think those who have been quite regular in attendance will sit.
On Sunday nights we present two books. The second book is "The Great Controversy." We have a different plan for giving these books away. At a given moment, as people are coming in, we count, and the tenth person gets the book. Other nights it may be the fifth person, and so on.
Books are not given to those who come in after a certain time, and this restriction encourages promptness. Many who have not yet received a book tell friends who come to visit them, "I'm sorry, but I just must go to this meeting. I am anxious to get one of the free books they are giving, and therefore I must not be late."
We always call the person to the front to receive the book. Some are so elated at being the "lucky" one, as they express it, that they reach up and grasp my hand, and enthusiastically say, "God bless you! I surely am happy to get this book !"