in Orlando, "the city beautiful," is the office for the Florida Book and Bible House. Situated three blocks from the main street of the city, and half a block from Lake Eola, which attracts thousands of residents and visitors each year, this location is an ideal one in which to have a complete and detailed display of our literature.
Because of the continual seasonal influx of tourists in the winter and exodus in the summer, our office has never enjoyed very large sales from colporteur activity. By far the most of our business comes from our churches and from over-the-counter trade. To build up sales over the counter, we must advertise our literature by displaying it as attractively as possible.
In July, 1948, a great deal of effort was put forth to arrange the facilities in our display room to accommodate, in a systematic manner, the wonderful literature that we have. As the accompanying pictures will show, shelves were constructed in the archways to display books face out, so that titles and colorful jackets would have full opportunity to create curiosity and interest in the contents.
Books have been grouped by subject matter into six separate sections—current reading courses, young people's books, Spirit of prophecy volumes, doctrinal books, music, and miscellaneous. Each one of the archways is equipped with a four-foot fluorescent lamp which makes possible a clear view of all books. One special counter space, covered with gold cloth, is used exclusively for Bibles. In addition, there can be found at one end of the room a display rack holding from fifteen to twenty copies each of eighty Crisis books; and at the other end is a similar arrangement accommodating Bedtime Stories, Children's Hour, Bible Pageant, and other books for children. On the top of this rack will be found Bible games and similar items.
One rack holds twenty-five each of thirty-six different religious music records. There are seven other racks for Little Giant books, tracts, cards, health foods, and miscellaneous items; and an eight-foot glass showcase houses such items as fountain pens, pencils, and communion ware. We have a two-piece wicker set—a desk and chair—for the convenience of those ad dressing post cards. There is also the desk of one of our secretaries in the display room. Thus, at all times there is someone to greet customers and visitors.
Our office has two front doors, between which is a fifteen-foot show window. A shelf twelve inches high, running the entire length of the window, was built to accommodate an exclusive display of colorful jacketed books and other items of special interest. They are rearranged at intervals. At each end of the room a thirteen-foot show window has received the same attention. A small ledge the entire length of the three show windows pro vides a place for a number of four-foot fluorescent lamps, which gives indirect lighting to this forty-one feet of "front line" display.
Outside is a large neon sign, "Florida Book and Bible House," eighteen inches high and fifteen feet long. This, together with the four- foot lamps in the archways and the forty-one feet of lighted display in our three show windows, is lighted from dark until ten o'clock each evening, except Friday, and then turned off automatically by a time clock. Fortunately there is nothing to hinder the view, and our entire display can be seen for a whole block in each direction.
Now the question is asked, is all this extra work rewarded with extra sales and souls? At the end of 1948 it was found that our Bible House sales had sustained a loss of $13,700, as compared with 1947, as far as our colporteur work was concerned. The decrease in total sales was only $9,000, however, which meant that we had an increase of $4,700 in trade sales. This is attributed almost entirely to the display that was arranged the latter part of the year.
Space would not permit mentioning the number of people who have come in to make a purchase, because they were either walking by or driving by the evening before, when their eyes were attracted to the lighted display and fell on a book or item of interest.
God, while passing by, was attracted to our store, and as a result has now been subscribing for almost a year for one Picture Roll and fifteen sets of Memory Verse cards for her children's division.
Several Catholic sisters have been coming in on an average of twice a week to buy pictures, children's books, and other items for their school. Several times one of the sisters noticed some of our literature on the subject of Catholicism, but dared not buy any of it in the presence of the other sisters. Someday she may come in and purchase some of this literature, and time alone will be able to tell the result.
In Orlando there are four or five stores that sell books and Bibles but a man driving down the street noticed our Bible house, came in and purchased sixteen nine-dollar Bibles for young people in his church who had completed memory work. There is another man who comes in every few days to make a purchase, because, as he says, we "have the best literature in town."
Our lighted display one night caused a teacher in one of the Christian church schools to come in the next day. She bought the Children's Hour set and stated she would be back soon to purchase The Desire of Ages and The Great Controversy.
After going in and out of every bookstore in town, representatives from the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist church, including the pas- tor, were drawn to our store to see what literature we had available on the subject of Stewardship. An unusually favorable comment was made after they examined Counsels on Stewardship by Mrs. White. Sixteen copies were taken to be used in their vacation Bible school.
There is every reason to believe that the added blessing of God, attending the reading of these books, will mean souls in the kingdom of God. "We are fast approaching the end. The printing and circulation of the books and papers that contain the truth for this time are to be our work."—Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 39.