Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The People You Meet

Over the last year I've had the unique privilege of selling used books to some interesting individuals from every corner of the globe. Because we specialize in theology and biblical studies, some of these folks are well-known church leaders, theologians, and professors of theology. In one instance, we sold a book to a major cult leader.

But we don't sell theology alone; we also have modern first editions, Texas fiction and non-fiction, Americana, and a general antiquarian stock. As a result, I've been blessed over the years to sell to some celebrities and authors. Back when I had a used bookstore in upstate New York, I even bought some books from celebrities. Debra Winger once walked into my store and sold me a bag of paperback fiction. An editor from Esquire magazine lived in our area and bought a some books from me. When he came out with his first novel, he signed my copy. Well known artists from New York City (we were less than 2 hours away) came in looking for books. One artist bought bunches of books for a piece that she did using the torn up books as part of her medium. Stephen King shopped for homes in our area for awhile, but did not move there. More recently we sold a high end book to a guy who has published a controversial biography of President Gerald Ford. I consider him one of my less savory clients since he is considered a weasel in the used\rare book world. But his check was good.

Looking over my client database recently, I discovered that I've sold a couple of books to a prominent Emergent Church leader. I double checked it against the leader's website, and the email address is the same, so it's safe to assume that this is the same person. We send out Gospel tracts with all of our books, so I was surprised recently when he made another order. Sometimes people get very offended (not very often, thankfully) when they get a tract with a book, and I would expect that an EC guy who is as New Age as this guy is would take exception. If he did, he didn't say so and now he is a repeat customer.

So, I upped the ante. We usually send out short tracts like the "Smart Card" from Living Waters or the "What If?" card from One Million Tracts. This time I've sent him the tract "True Repentance" which is a longer tri-fold tract which deals with false conversion. A little more "in your face", with the hope that we might begin to dialogue. Call it my attempt to "enter the conversation", if you will.

At any rate, I never looked at my bookselling as ministry back when I focused on general antiquarian. Now, things are quite different. Every book gets shipped with a tract. Will anything ever come of this ministry? Only the Lord knows that. In the meantime, we'll continue to send tracts to customers who are "somebodies" and "nobodies" with the hope that the Lord will save some.

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