O Me of Little Faith

Last week, a truck bearing four pallets and a couple thousand pounds of freight rolled into Amarillo. On that truck were all the not-yet-sold copies of Pocket Guide to the Bible still existing in the world today, give or take a few. The total number of those copies? 9,053. Packed into many, many boxes. Too many to store in my garage.

And I own them all. They’re mine. All mine.

Here’s the deal. Relevant Books published my first Pocket Guide — Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse — in early 2005. It was moderately successful, thanks in no small part to its being picked up in Wal-Mart stores nationwide. Within a few months of that release we began revising and repackaging my very first book, Things You Should Know by Now (2004), into another Pocket Guide book called Pocket Guide to Adulthood. It came out in late 2005. Then in 2006, we published Pocket Guide to the Bible, which was and still is one of my favorite books. In late 2006, Relevant made the decision to stop publishing books.

This made me sad. Because I had always envisioned the Pocket Guide concept as a series — a “brand,” for you marketing folks — of small, fun, entertaining-yet-educational books about big religious subjects. I was dreaming big. I wanted to write a dozen Pocket Guide books and see them all on a shelf like those Chicken Soup for Your Parole Officer’s Soul books. Me and Relevant…we were gonna take on the world of pocket-sized book publishing.

But it was not to be. So Relevant has still been selling my books — including Pocket Guide to the Bible — in their back catalog, but haven’t been actively promoting them. Then, at the end of last year, I signed a deal with Jossey-Bass, a publishing imprint of the huge Wiley publishing behemoth. (Wiley knows its way around reference series, as it publishes Cliffs Notes, and Frommer’s travel guides, and all those …For Dummies books.) Much to my delight, Jossey-Bass shared my enthusiasm for the Pocket Guide brand and we decided to relaunch the series in the summer of 2009 with three books. One of these books is Pocket Guide to Sainthood, as I’ve made clear with several posts of advance content. Another one is Pocket Guide to the Afterlife, which I’m writing now. It’s about heaven and hell and ghosts and all kinds of fun stuff.

And the third one? It’s Pocket Guide to the Bible — just like the original, only revised and rereleased and repackaged by Jossey-Bass.

Because I sold Relevant the rights to that book when we first published it in 2006, I had to purchase those rights back to allow Jossey-Bass to republish it next year. And you know what buying back the rights entailed, in this case? Purchasing the existing inventory of Pocket Guide to the Bible. All 9,053 books in the Relevant warehouse. Nine thousand fifty-three.

Nutshell: I have a whole freaking lot of books on my hands. And I would like to unload as many of them as possible. I got a pretty good price per book in my buy-back, so that means I can pass on considerable savings to you. The list price for Pocket Guide to the Bible is $11.99. You can get it on Amazon right now for $9.59. But I’ll sell it to you for $6.99 AND I’LL SIGN IT because I’ll be shipping it to you myself. No middle men. No bookstores. No sales clerks. Just me and a pen and a literal ton of books and some mailing tape.

But wait! It gets better! Over the last couple of years I’ve heard from a number of college ministries and Bible study groups and even university classes that have used the book as a non-threatening introduction to the Bible. For larger groups needing copies of the book, I’m offering an even deeper discount: $3.99 per book if you buy a carton of 48. (Why 48? Because that’s how many fit in a box.) And I’ll still ship them to you myself and sign each and every one of them. That’s how I roll.

College and/or young adult ministers? Here’s a unique, inexpensive giveaway idea.

Youth ministers? Here’s a cheap bunch of graduation gifts. (This would be a good time to quote from Internet Monk Michael Spencer‘s gracious review of PGTTB: As a professional communicator with young people, this book is gold for me.”)

Bible teachers? I’ll let Mr. Spencer say it once more: “…a great gift for anyone who works with the Bible: pastors, seminary profs, students, teachers. When you have to take on a subject professionally, a book like this can awaken fresh appreciation with some humor and insight.” (Thanks again, iMonk.)

Regular people? Be a peach and buy a whole box of signed copies for your friends and family. Finish up your Christmas shopping in May. Do you know a college minister or youth minister or Bible teacher? Send them right here.

I have no further reason to beat around the bush, so here’s the hard sell: I have a lot of books. I would like to sell some of them to you. That’s why you’ll see buttons in the sidebar to the left. Click on those to buy your very own signed copies of Pocket Guide to the Bible. The “BUY NOW” button will take you to a secure Paypal window where you can pay for your books using your credit card or Paypal account. Then when you’re done, you’ll be directed back here. I’ll get your signed books to you post-haste, and maybe I’ll even send a nice personal note.

It’s the great Pocket Guide sales event, and it’ll last at least until summer 2009. (Insert explosion sound and flashing graphics here.) Don’t miss it!

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