BookExpo America 2017

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Tamara Strumfeld

By Tamara Strumfeld, Urantia Foundation, Chicago, Illinois, United States

Mo Siegel and I attended this year’s BookExpo America at the Javits Center in New York City from May 31 to June 2. It is always enjoyable to attend this fair, learn the latest and greatest news in the book trade, and see what the popular trends are.

The size of the Expo and the number of exhibitors have been shrinking over the past few years. The Expo used to be in many halls, and one could hardly navigate the walkways without bumping into someone. This year, everything fit into one large hall, and many familiar publishers were absent. Nevertheless, we learned a lot!

Physical book sales across the industry are up about half of one percent. We Urantia Book readers can celebrate the Foundation’s book sales being up eleven percent for 2016 and three percent for the first quarter of 2017. E-book sales are down everywhere, and that includes Urantia e-books in several languages.

Many of you may have noticed that Amazon has placed a quantity restriction on the English paperback. Amazon will only sell one paperback per customer per week. Mo and I did our best to figure out why the restriction is there and how to lift it. No one really knows why, but one person experienced with Amazon said that this has happened before with popular books that individuals buy in larger quantities. Amazon does not want to be treated like a wholesaler, and once the shipping algorithms are put in place, there is nothing anyone can do about it. Hopefully this will change in the future, but for the meantime, please purchase larger quantities of paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. The price of the book is discounted there as well.

On the Latin American front, let us express appreciation to the readers in Brazil. One local bookseller lamented that, due to economic hardship, book orders had come to a standstill for many months. One book, however, continued to be in demand—O Livro de Urântia!

Another Brazilian stopped by, told us how the book changed his life and strongly encouraged us to translate the Parables book into Portuguese.

To learn more about current trends, Mo and I walked the exhibition floor. At one point we came across an author speaking. She had drawn a very large crowd. Curious about her topic, we saw that her book was about witches. Besides food and dating (other popular topics at this Expo), it turns out that interest in witches is really growing. Byron Belitsos, a longtime reader who is also in the publishing business, confirmed this when he visited our booth. He said he could not get a study group going in his area because The Urantia Book doesn’t have witches. Imagine that! It brought to mind the first sentence of The Urantia Book, “In the minds of the mortals of Urantia—that being the name of your world—there exists great confusion respecting the meaning of such terms as God, divinity, and deity.” 0:0.1 (1.1)

For us, the highlight of the fair was interacting with the visitors to our booth. Some were fans of the book and wanted to tell us their stories; others had put the book down years ago but felt it was time to pick it up again and devote themselves to it. One conversation about angels was so intriguing that the exhibitor to our left confessed the next day to her eavesdropping. She wanted to get a copy of the book to learn more. She would have taken one but did not want to add four pounds to her luggage.

The entire experience enhanced my gratitude for having this book and its teachings in my life. It gives gifts, such as the peace that Jesus leaves with us, our ever-growing relation to the Father (faith), certainty about our sonship, and the desire to be of service to our fellows—gifts that the world desperately needs.

There remains much work to be done to seed The Urantia Book and its teachings globally. It takes constant effort for slow and steady progress. May we continue to pray daily for more laborers!

Tamara Strumfeld and Mo Siegel
Tamara Strumfeld and Mo Siegel

Foundation Info

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