Discounted Books and Bookselling Facts

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

When The Urantia Book was first published, Forum members were given an opportunity to pre-order books. Many of those members remember the day in October 1955 when they were able to hold in their hands the realization of a dream some had awaited for decades.

Cases of books were carried from 533 Diversey Parkway that day for distribution to friends and family. In the early days, this was the primary way people discovered The Urantia Book. For many years, Urantia Foundation and the former Urantia Brotherhood distributed books in this way. Individuals and Urantia Brotherhood Societies would purchase case lots at deep discounts.

Although this practice was necessary for the early seeding of The Urantia Book, it also had its disadvantages insofar as it slowed the development of normal trade channels. If the practice of discounting books to individuals and reader groups continued, the book was in danger of becoming a cult classic--that is, you would have to know someone in order to find the book. The only people who knew about the book were buying at a discount from Urantia Brotherhood or Urantia Foundation and, therefore, no market was created.

Commercial Channels

As a result, many commercial channels would not carry the book because there was no demand for them. This prevented people from being able to discover the book on bookstore shelves. Shelf space is limited and is precious to retailers, and managers look for books that will have frequent turnover. They will not stock a book if it does not prove to have a market. Nor will they stock it if they are undercut by organizations selling directly to the consumer at a discount. The Foundation eventually became aware that every book sold at a discount from someone's living room stock actually retards the development of commercial channels and impedes worldwide availability. The decision was made to limit the availability of discounted books while promoting normal channels of retail sale.

This is why sales to individuals from Urantia Foundation (website or phone orders) are at suggested retail price and we do not offer quantity discounts to individuals or reader groups. We include links from our website to online retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble where discounted copies are available through commercial channels. Today we find that the availability of the book worldwide has been tremendously improved by following this plan. New readers can find the book in bookstores and libraries worldwide, free of the interpretations of any one group or individual.

Other Publishers

Other publishers may offer readers and study groups attractive deals for discounted copies of The Urantia Book. We realize how attractive, altruistic, and convenient these kinds of offers may seem at first glance, but we believe it is important for readers to understand how the bookselling industry works and to resist participation in these offers if they occur. We encourage readers and study groups to purchase books directly from bookstores so that these stores will continue to stock The Urantia Book for the next truth seeker browsing the shelves.

A Challenge for Urantia Associations, Fellowship Societies and Study Groups

Through the years many readers and study groups have assisted in our efforts to establish The Urantia Book in the book market. Some readers have “adopted” one or more bookstores in their community. One reader told us she would regularly order The Urantia Book from her local bookstore. Once the book came in, she would ask that it be put on the shelf for one month and indicated she would come in and purchase it if it had not already been sold. She never had to purchase a book! Simply purchasing the book from a local bookstore helps to ensure the availability on bookstore shelves for the next potential Urantia Book reader.

Here's a challenge for Urantia Associations and study groups: The book is so inexpensive at this point that almost anyone can afford to order the book through a bookstore. If you adopt a set of bookstores and order the authentic Urantia Book regularly through those stores, availability of The Urantia Book will be greatly enhanced. If you cannot afford the book, every time you go into a bookstore at least ask if they have it.

Urantia Foundation can supply you with postcards that have The Urantia Book's ISBN number and ordering information printed on the back. You can leave these cards with bookstore managers to remind them to order the Book. If enough books are purchased through your local bookstores, or if inquiries are regularly made about it, store managers will be encouraged to order it regularly, and you will be directly helping to increase the availability of The Urantia Book in retail stores where most people are likely to find it.

Urantia Foundation has established a worldwide distribution network that continues to grow. The Urantia Book notes that “[c]ommerce has been the great civilizer through promoting the cross-fertilization of culture.” (p. 775) Through the effective use of ordinary channels of trade, this book can reach the hearts of men. You can help by ordering your books through bookstores.

Foundation Info

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Urantia Foundation, 533 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Tel: +1-773-525-3319; Fax: +1-773-525-7739
© Urantia Foundation. All rights reserved