Via Glenn Greenwald: Matt Drudge, a man always willing to make his followers look stupid, has claimed that Crashing the Gate, a book by prominent liberal bloggers Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, is a flop. Roger L. Simon leads the parade of right-wing bloggers crowing over this:
Although it underscores what we already knew—that Glenn Reynolds (whose book is selling much better) has remarkable respect in the blogosphere for his integrity and intelligence—I must say I am surprised at the relatively pathetic sales figures for Markos Zuniga’s book Crashing the Gates. It could mean one of several things: 1. Kos’ audience has heard it all already; 2. Kos’ audience is not “bookish”; 3. Kos’ audience is not as big as it’s cracked up to be; 4. Kos doesn’t write particularly well; 5. Kos doesn’t have anything new to say. 6. People are tired of all this political blather anyway. (Hinderaker thinks the latter).
This is crap. As Greenwald points out, Drudge’s claim is based entirely on numbers from Nielsen Bookscan, which counts cash-register sales at a bunch of major chains and some independents. I’ve had contradictory reports about whether Bookscan does or doesn’t cover Amazon, but I’m pretty sure they’re a ways away from covering every online and brick-and-mortar bookseller. And it’s certainly not a stretch to suspect that a book by a pair of famous bloggers would see its strongest sales in some unusual venues.
It wasn’t Glenn Reynolds (a man with fine taste in science fiction) who set up a pissing match between his book and Kos’s. Indeed, while Reynolds linked to the Drudge story, he also “updated” with an expression of doubt. Just as evidently, though, Drudge really does want to play the Bookscan game. And Roger L. Simon seems to take it as a matter of established truth that Reynolds’ book is selling well while Kos’s is crashing and burning. Meanwhile, I happen to have
Marshall McLuhan Bookscan access right here.
As of this morning, for Reynolds’ An Army of Davids (February 2006), Bookscan reports 1716 retail sales and 2609 “discount” sales, for a total of 4325.
As of this morning, for Armstrong and Kos’s Crashing the Gate (March 2006), Bookscan reports 2598 retail sales and 1804 “discount” sales, for a total of 4402.
In other words, despite the fact that it’s been available for four fewer weeks, Kos and Armstrong’s book has now clocked Bookscan sales in excess of Reynolds’. Notably, several hundred more full-price sales. This is leaving aside the fact that Kos and Armstrong’s book is currently at #40 on Amazon, whereas Reynolds’ is at #801.
Here’s Glenn Greenwald again:
These twin items by Drudge and Simon—equally baseless, fact-free and misleading on their face—were mindlessly recited as fact by countless Bush followers all day yesterday. The always fact-free Powerline John dutifully recited the claim that CTG “has sold an astonishingly low 3,630 copies,” and even repeats Simon’s fantasy-driven fiction “that Glenn Reynolds’ book is selling well.” Right Wing News drools: “It’s really nice to see Kos’s book nosedive into the pavement.” The Bush zombie at BlogsFor Bush echoes the script: “I’ve stopped laughing long enough” to note that “there is no mention of the pathetic book sales of Kos’s book on the site’s front page.” And PunditGuy, after celebrating the “failure” of CTG, says this:Kos claims that Drudge’s numbers aren’t on the up and up. What-ev-eh.Doesn’t that pretty much capture the whole sickness? “There are facts that suggest that what I am saying is not actually true. What is my response do that? ‘What-ev-eh.’” As in: “Some people claim there are facts that show that things in Iraq are not going really great. Something about civil war, sectarian hatred, anarchy, widespread violence, a total lack of security. What-ev-eh.”
Don’t they have somewhere lurking in their brain any critical faculties at all?
Oh, and Glenn Greenwald’s own book’s Amazon rank right now? Why, that would be “#1 in Books.” For the second day in a row. Darn shame that “people are tired of all this political blather anyway.”