Selections from Testimonies to the Managers and Workers in our Institutions


Chapter 8—Prices on Publications

Many of our publications have been thrown into the market at so low a figure that the profits are not sufficient to sustain the office and keep good a fund for continual use. And those of our people who have no special burden of the various branches of the work at Battle Creek and Oakland, do not become informed in regard to the wants of the cause, and the capital required to keep the business moving. They do not understand the liability to losses, and the expense every day occurring to such institutions. They seem to think that everything moves off without much care or outlay of means, and therefore they will urge the necessity of the lowest figures on our publications, thus leaving scarcely any margin. And after the prices have been reduced to almost ruinous figures, they manifest but a feeble interest in increasing the sales of the very books on which they have asked such low prices. The object gained, their burden ceases, when they ought to have an earnest interest and a real care to press the sale of the publications, thereby sowing the seeds of truth, and bringing means into the offices to invest in other publications.—Testimonies for the Church 4:388. PH149 76.1

Our houses of publication are the property of all our people, and all should work to the point of raising them above embarrassment. In order to circulate our publications, they have been offered at so low a figure that but little profit could come to the office to reproduce the same works. This has been done with the best of motives, but not with experienced and far-seeing judgment. PH149 76.2

At the low prices of publications, the office could not preserve a capital upon which to work. This was not fully seen and critically investigated. These low prices led people to undervalue the works, and it was not fully discerned that when once these publications were placed at a low figure, it would be very difficult to bring them up to their proper value.... PH149 77.1

As a people, we need to be guarded on every point. There is not the least safety for any, unless we seek wisdom of God daily, and dare not move in our own strength. Danger is always surrounding us, and great caution should be used that no one branch of the work be made a specialty, while other interests are left to suffer. PH149 77.2

Mistakes have been made in putting down prices of publications to meet certain difficulties. These efforts must change. Those who made this move were sincere. They thought their liberality would provoke ministers and people to labor to greatly increase the demand for the publications. PH149 77.3

Ministers and people should act nobly and liberally in dealing with our publishing houses. Instead of studying and contriving how they can obtain periodicals, tracts, and books at the lowest figure, they should seek to bring the minds of the people to see the true value of the publications. All these pennies taken from thousands of publications have caused a loss of thousands of dollars to our offices, when a few pennies more from each individual would scarcely have been felt. PH149 77.4

The Review and Herald and the Signs of the Times are cheap papers at the full price. The Review is a valuable paper; it contains matters of great interest to the church, and should be placed in every family of believers. If any are too poor to take it, the church should, by subscription, raise the amount of the full price of the paper, and supply the destitute families. How much better would this plan be than throwing the poor upon the mercies of the publishing house or the tract and missionary society. PH149 78.1

The same course should be pursued toward the Signs. With slight variations, this paper has been increasing in interest and in moral worth as a pioneer sheet since its establishment. These periodicals are one in interest. They are two instrumentalities in the great field to do their specific work in disseminating light in this day of God's preparation. All should engage just as earnestly to build up the one as the other.—Testimonies for the Church 4:597, 598. PH149 78.2