I’d love to see a copy of Ishmael in every hotel room in the world, you can be sure of that. The Gideon association is a bit ahead of me at this point, however, with more than 130,000 members in 170 countries, distributing more than 45 million Bibles and New Testaments every year.
Such a movement would certainly have my undivided support, but it’s not something for me to undertake myself. I’m a writer and a thinker, not an organizer. It’s something that could start small, as did the Gideon association, which was conceived by two traveling salesmen in a Wisconsin hotel room on September 14, 1898.
As for my hitting the promotional trail for Ishmael, I don’t think that’s the way to go. A decade ago, not more than a dozen people had read Ishmael; today probably three or four million people have read it, not as a result of any effort on my part but simply as a result of people telling other people about it. If everyone who’s read it passed it on to someone else to read in August, and everyone who had read it by then passed it along to someone else to read in September, and everyone who had read it by then passed it along to someone else to read in October, and so on, then (believe it or not) everyone on the planet would have read it by this time next year. (Do the arithmetic yourself and you’ll see.) Nothing beats word of mouth!
posted: 25 Aug 2001
updated: 25 Aug 2001