Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 18, 2010

HOW TO CREATE A BEST SELLER (WHEN NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR BOOK).... Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R) recognizes the expectation facing all presidential candidates -- he needs another book. Just as importantly, he needs it to look like a successful book.

In 2007, in advance of his first national campaign, Romney published Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games. This year, he released No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, which actually managed to reach #1 on the New York Times best-seller list.

Who are these mysterious people, rushing out to purchase Romney's silly text? Well, it's a funny story, actually.

Mitt Romney boosted sales of his book this spring by asking institutions to buy thousands of copies in exchange for his speeches, according to a document obtained by POLITICO. [...]

The hosts ranged from Claremont McKenna College to the Restaurant Leadership Conference, many of whom are accustomed to paying for high-profile speakers like Romney. Asking that hosts buy books is also a standard feature of book tours. But Romney's total price -- $50,000 -- was on the high end, and his publisher, according to the document from the book tour -- provided on the condition it not be described in detail -- asked institutions to pay at least $25,000, and up to the full $50,000 price, in bulk purchases of the book. With a discount of roughly 40 percent, that meant institutions could wind up with more than 3,000 copies of the book -- and a person associated with one of his hosts said they still have quite a pile left over.

You don't say.

It's a reminder that the appearance of conservative books on the best-seller list should generally be taken with a grain of salt. One might see a book like Romney's atop the list and assume he has a real base of support -- which is precisely the appearance his team hopes to create. But in reality, Romney forced institutions to buy thousands of copies, inflating sales totals to almost comical heights.

By most accounts the book is, as a substantive matter, rather ridiculous. Worse, it was probably ghost-written. But forcing bookstores, universities, conferences, and private groups to make it a best-seller, whether the public wanted to buy it or not, is kind of sad.

Steve Benen 9:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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Comments

Private security guards (square badges, goons, or as in this case, Facist thugs) have no power to arrest and no power to detain or handcuff anyone on public property. THEY SHOULD BE ARRESTED IMMEDIATELY !! for assault and for false imprisonment. If their actions can be linked to Miller, he should also be arrested for conspiracy to commit those felonys. The US Attorney General should immediately open an investigation of the criminal violation of the the reporter's civil rights under Federal Law, because this action was taken under 'color of law'. The reporter should also retain a lawyer and file a civil suit.

This is one more example of the galloping Facism taking hold in the USA. Mussolini and Hitler had their Brown Shirts and Black Shirts, Miller has "Drop Zone".

Posted by: robert on October 18, 2010 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

It's the colleges' own fault for paying a dime to have an idiot like him speak

Posted by: Upper West on October 18, 2010 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Romney forced institutions to buy thousands of copies, inflating sales totals to almost comical heights.

What do you mean "almost comical"? I think this is hilarious. Just needs the SNL or Colbert treatment.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on October 18, 2010 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

"Romney forced institutions to buy thousands of copies, inflating sales totals to almost comical heights."

Hey, it made L. Ron Hubbard a best selling author.

Posted by: sublime33 on October 18, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

I think I just lost a portion of my breakfast. Nauseating...

Posted by: stevio on October 18, 2010 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

All of these jokers are in their "Wait'll they get a look at me" level of distortion . The disruption to information appears to have a one to one relationship to the proximity to power .
The people who need the most direct intervention into their sick and diseased character are discovering ways to engage their mental destruction on a mass scale .
Yay

Posted by: FRP on October 18, 2010 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Charles Foster Kane is America's hope, brightest light, and valiant warrior. Buy his book or the terrorists win.

Posted by: walt on October 18, 2010 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe it's time for the NY times and other "Best seller list" creators to publish 2 lists. One for individual sales and one for "bulk sales"

Posted by: atlliberal on October 18, 2010 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Didn't the Wasilla silly person do the same thing? SOP for Repubs.

Posted by: John R on October 18, 2010 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Back in 1989, House Speaker Jim Wright got in trouble for accepting bulk purchases of a book he "wrote" as speaking fees and had to resign. Details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Wright

But, to be fair, Wright was a Democrat, so what he did can be considered unethical.

Posted by: Basilisc on October 18, 2010 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe it's time NYT reevaluate its system to discount bulk purchases.

Posted by: mikefromArlington on October 18, 2010 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Books whose sales are composed of many bulk orders are marked with a dagger on the NY Times list. You'll find that most wingnut books are.

Posted by: Angry Young Man on October 18, 2010 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

I know a certain Gainesville FL preacher that could use them.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on October 18, 2010 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

I recently came into a substantial sum of money (and needed to quickly launder it. . .).

Fulfilling a lifetime dream (actually, more of a nightmare. . .), I offered a former half term governor $10,000 to sleep with me.

"For sure!" she perkily chirped, "Only, buy a thousand copies of my book, 'North by Northwest, to Alaska', instead."

"Nah," I said, wondering how much the Delaware Destroyer would want. . .

Posted by: DAY on October 18, 2010 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Now, where would Mark Styne, Robert Kagan and Victor Davis Hanson be without Claremont McKenna?

But, then, Claremont McKenna does have an excellent recycling program.

Posted by: berttheclock on October 18, 2010 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Does he have a book on hair? He does have lovely hair, I'd think about buying a Mitt Romney hair book!

Posted by: Trollop on October 18, 2010 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Conservatives have been doing this for years. How else do you think Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham and all the other conservative icons get on the best seller list?

If anyone does this for liberals or progressives, I'm not aware of it.

Posted by: bdop4 on October 18, 2010 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

As bad as this sounds its actually a relatively common practice in the non-fiction world. As someone else pointed out the Scientology crowd has been using a similar technique to boost Hubbard's sales for decades. Universities over order copies of their own professors books in order to boost their prestige. Corporations buy tons of copies of their CEOs books in order boost their egos. Political parties order up boxes of leading canidates books. etc etc.

It's one of the reasons the New York Times 'Best Seller List', especially the non-fiction list, needs to be taken with a serious grain of salt. They don't reflect what people actually read. They only reflect what the publishers ship out. That makes them very easy for wealthy institutions or people to manipulate.

Posted by: thorin-1 on October 18, 2010 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Oh thank god Mitt spoke up for America! And at such risk to himself... someone should start a right-wing book title parody contest.

Tasty: the Untold Case for Mom's Apple Pie
Wrong: My Lonely Stand Against Cannibalism

But I know that Mitt is probably pushing an uncommonly boring version of American exceptionalism, which isn't as tasty as pie or as wrong as cannibalism. But it is wrong, and leads to bad policy decisions on every level.

Posted by: Half Elf on October 18, 2010 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

That's what conservatives call the "free market."
The fact is, NO ONE buys these books that popular right wing personalities crank out. Michelle Malkin, Jonah Goldberg, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin...Sarah Palin...all their books are bought in bulk by conservative book clubs, Townhall, Newsmax, and conservative lobbying firms to artificially inflate sales figures. Then the books are given away free with subscriptions, as rewards for participating in slanted polls, or just given away at events. Think about it. After listening to Sean Hannity for four hours a day, every day, (that's all he asks) are his followers actually going to spend an hour each night READING one of his books? The whole conservative movement is a sham, an advertising campaign.

Posted by: ysbadadden is on your ignore list on October 18, 2010 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK
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