the rob bell effect

May 27, 2008

Today, a package came in the mail. It has been a long time coming, and it is a result of the Rob Bell effect. Be patient. I will explain.

As Rob Bell has become a national figure over the last five years or so, the Rob Bell effect has grown. He has recommended many books through his teaching and speaking. This is especially of interest for those of us who like some of the history he digs up. The problem is, some of these books are out of print. Low supply and growing demand means these books get expensive. Really expensive.

That’s when it becomes fun for me. Some odd part of me loves to hunt these books down to find a price I can afford. Each of the books below suffers from the the Rob Bell effect. They are selling for $150 and up around the internet. But I’m now happy to have each in my library, having paid less than $30 for each:

  • The Seven Cities of the Apocalypse in Greco-Asian Culture, by Roland Worth – This is the one that arrived today. I found it used on Amazon for for $25 last week. It looks brand new and I can’t wait to dive in. Rob mentioned it in the endnotes of Velvet Elvis. It was only published in 1999, so I’m not sure why it has gone out of print.
  • The Seven Cities of the Apocalypse in Roman Culture, by Roland Worth – This is the counterpart volume to the above book. It was not directly cited by Rob, but it is still hard to find. I was able to find it on Eisenbrauns brand new a year ago. Unfortunately, they don’t have it any more.
  • Christ and the Caesars, by Ethelbert Stauffer – I heard about this one from Rob several years ago. I think it was already hard to find because it was on Ray Vander Laan‘s suggested reading list. I found it in the online inventory of a used bookstore in the UK for under $15. (No, not the bookstore on Notting Hill.) I was a tad delighted.

If you are hunting for out of print books, Alibris or BookFinder are useful. But, I’ve probably had the most luck just using Google to search for the title and author. Once again, be patient.

Persistence bordering on psychosis helps too.

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