The Publishing Ministry


Section 6—Counsels for Marketing Church Literature


The Adventist Book Centers.—The current Adventist Book Center (ABC) is the offspring of the Tract and Missionary Societies organized by S. N. Haskell and his associates over a century ago. PM 321.1

“Soon after 1870, when S. N. Haskell organized the New England Tract and Missionary Society, every conference had its own Tract Society, with local churches active in evangelism through the distribution of tracts and papers. For supplying their members the conference Tract Societies soon proved themselves convenient centers for handling not only tracts but also a complete line of books and other denominational publications. They also furnished various types of printed supplies by the churches and the different departments of the conferences, and functioned as wholesale outlets supplying the colporteurs. PM 321.2

“The denomination-wide International Tract Society was replaced in 1901 by a publication committee, which a little later became the Publishing Department of the General Conference. The local societies, as important evangelizing agencies, eventually became the church missionary societies, fostered by the Home Missionary Department. PM 321.3

“This left the conference tract societies with the specialized function of serving as distributing outlets for the publishing houses. In 1924, their scope of influence having long since reached beyond the small-literature stage, the name was changed to Book and Bible Houses. In 1972 the name Adventist Book Center was adopted. These agencies are now established throughout North America and in most parts of the world field.”—SDAEN 12. PM 321.4

The Adventist Book Center is described as follows: PM 321.5

“A distribution and service outlet for Seventh-day Adventist publishing house products and other church-approved materials, including Bibles, audio-visual aids, all church department needs, public evangelism supplies, and often special dietary health products. Generally there is one or more in each conference territory, selling either subscription literature wholesale to literature evangelists and/or subscription and trade literature at retail to individuals—subscription literature being the type produced for door-to-door gospel sales by literature evangelists; trade literature, usually with fewer illustrations, being the type of literature produced for SDA church member home-and-neighborhood evangelism purposes. PM 322.1

“Conference Adventist Book Centers often establish branch book centers in major cities and operate well-equipped bookmobiles, which regularly visit the denomination's churches and all major church gatherings.... PM 322.2

“Each is operated by an experienced manager elected by the conference constituency, with appropriate personnel to handle the business of the field in which the center is situated. The influence of the Adventist Book Centers extends to all departments of the church through supplying materials for use in every phase of Christian endeavor. Adventist Book Center managers, as spiritual leaders of the church, encourage church members to build a library of good books in their homes. A large volume of their business is in connection with literature evangelists to whom they supply subscription books and magazines to sell to the public. Adventist Book Centers also aid students through literature evangelist scholarships. Net sales by Adventist Book Centers throughout the world amount to millions of dollars annually.”—SDAEN 12. PM 322.3

The following section of this compilation offers special information and guidance to ABC managers and their associates. A few of the quotations are general in derivation, but apply to all workers in the cause of Christ, including ABC managers. PM 322.4

Trustees, Ellen G. White Estate.