Why Do People Keep Stealing My Books at GovCon Conferences?

It happened again this morning.  I was at a government contracts conference (which was great, by the way), and stepped away from my trade show booth for a few minutes.

While I was gone, someone stole one of my display copies of Government Contracts Joint Ventures, our new GovCon Handbook.  It’s not the first time a display copy of one of my books has been pilfered at an industry event.  Why do people keep stealing my books at government contracts conferences?

Perhaps people are just confused and somehow think the books are free.  Nope.

The way the books are set up at the booth makes it quite obvious that these are display copies, not giveaways.  And of course, no one ever comes up and tries to take one when I’m actually at the booth.  But just in case, I tested this theory a few years ago by placing a sign next to my book (at that time, The Small-Business Guide to Government Contracts).  The sign said “FOR DISPLAY PURPOSES ONLY.”

When I came back from presenting my breakout session, The Small-Business Guide to Government Contracts had grown legs and walked off.

I suppose some folks just want to save money.  But petty theft isn’t a great way to fund your next family vacation.  Besides, Government Contracts Joint Ventures is a mere $9.99 in paperback and $6.99 on Kindle.  You can get a copy the honest way for less than it costs to “Build Your Sampler” at Applebee’s.  And after you read the nutritional information in the sidebar, you’re going to be happy that you skipped the boneless wings anyway.

So all I can conclude is that, unfortunately, like any major gathering of people, a government contracts conference attracts a few dishonest types–the sort who see a chance to steal something, and take it.  Not because they’re confused, not because they want to save money, but simply because they’re the sort of people who steal things.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love government contracts conferences, and undoubtedly the vast majority of people who attend them are honest and ethical.  But it’s sad that if I forget to take my display copies with me when I leave my booth (which is what I’ve been doing for a few years now, but forgot to do this morning), the odds are good that those books will mysteriously vanish while I’m gone.

If you’re the lowlife who took Government Contracts Joint Ventures this morning, you’re in luck–I’m a forgiving sort of guy.  So here’s the deal.  I want you to sit down and read the Handbook (and take care not to get too much buffalo wing sauce on the pages, okay?)  Then, go to Amazon and write a ridiculously glowing review.  Don’t forget to compliment my looks, personality and all-around awesomeness while you’re at it.

If you can handle that, I think we’ll be square.  But next time you’re at a conference, take a hint from the Georgia Satellites and keep your hands to yourself.