March 31, 1943, marked the close of the first fiscal year of the Radio Reading Room at 540 West 6th Street, in downtown Los Angeles. It has been an enjoyable and profitable year in various ways, especially in the good that has been accomplished. It has afforded a fine opportunity to contact hundreds of people who in many cases would not have been reached in any other way.
Good, strong impressions have been made on many hearts toward this precious truth. Many have been helped in their health habits and personal problems—strangers who knew not where else to go. Many people of other faiths have passed by their own ministers to come here and seek counsel and pray, because, as they have said, "The Christian atmosphere is different here from that of any other place I know." Christian experiences have been deepened, and real conversions have been effected in many cases. Various people, young and old, have been baptized into the faith—some who have been partly prepared through the agency of the Radio Reading Room, and others, entirely so.
We feel sure that the twenty thousand leaflets, pamphlets, books, copies of Signs, Watchman, Health, and Little Friend given freely to the public have had a good influence on the minds of the readers. As one example of the many expressions of appreciation that come to us, a card was received a few days ago with the following short message:
"Radio Reading Room : So glad for your fine place which gives these good magazines to the public. Many times I have taken free copies of the Signs of the Times. I have been so thankful for something to read at the moment. Thank you and God bless you."
"(Signed) A Passerby."
We get numerous notes and letters of this kind, as well as orders for books, Bibles, and plaques, from as far north as Canada, as far east as Boston, and from all over the South, sent by people who were out here on a visit, found our place, and remembered.
Even the financial aspect of the picture is becoming more and more encouraging. We have worked under various handicaps, such as inexperience, weather conditions, religious opposition and prejudice, war restrictions and dimouts, limited advertising, etc. But it is interesting to note the growth of sales month by month: (See PDF for figures)
If we were to count only the days the reading room has been open, our average daily sales for the entire period would be $22, but since the rent continues on every day, one must average the entire number of days for the first year since the opening of the room-366 days. We have had a daily average of about $19 sales, which has taken care of over 70 percent of our running expenses. Fourteen hundred Crisis books, many hundreds of other books, pamphlets, and 2,100 plaques were sold during this first year. The 716 Bibles and New Testaments sold over this period were valued at $2,732.
The first two months of the second fiscal year show a very substantial growth in sales—$2,000. As the daily overheead expense of the reading room is in the neighborhood of eight dollars, the daily gain of this two-month period has very nearly approached the point where it will cover not only the overhead of the business but the salaries of the two full-time workers as well. In this respect the business is truly becoming self-supporting.
* Gain on investment—actual above-cost gain on goods sold, which applies on overhead expenses.