Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Everybody has a shelf life

So I went into a religious bookstore yesterday, and immediately saw a sale rack. I never pass them up. I found a bargain or two and tucked them under my arm.

And then I saw two copies of my book of stewardship sermons. They have been marked down to "half off," which is cheaper than I can buy them from the publisher.

I take them to the sales clerk, who points out that they are close outs. "These are old books," she notes, "and they don't sell any more. It's time to take them off the shelves."

"Ah yes," I say, "but in a used book store, we often pay top dollar for valuable books."

"Well, that's the problem," she says. "There are too many religious books published, and a lot of them don't have any lasting value. So we need to clear them off our shelves on a regular basis." Touche.

As I mulled over whether I should say anything more, she noticed the name on my credit card. "You have the same name as the author!" she exclaimed, as I smiled silently and waited for her to make the connection. She didn't. I suppose she's not accustomed to having a has-been author in her store.

Meanwhile, let me make this invitation: If you want to buy a copy, click here. You'll notice that Amazon has a lot of used copies, some of them for only a couple of bucks. Curiously, some are also for sale at more than the original price. Hmm...

One can draw a number of lessons from this:
  • Some people value your work, some do not.
  • Some people once valued your work, but don't any longer.
  • Sometimes people value you only if your name is the same as the author of the book you're buying (even if it's you).
  • Somebody else may inflate your value if they think that they can get additional money out of unsuspecting fools.
  • Those who sell books often don't have a sufficient regard for the labor that it took to write them.
  • Just because your book is marked down or overpriced doesn't mean that you are less or more valuable in the sight of God.
  • The thrill of getting in your name in print will not last forever; somebody has to make room for Joel Osteen.
  • Everybody has a shelf life, including Joel Osteen. Here today, gone tomorrow, but the Word of our God will stand forever.

No comments: