Did you know former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett wrote a book? It was released a few weeks ago.
Jarrett’s book that you have not heard of has made it to the New York Times‘ Best Seller list. Allegedly.
Valerie Jarrett, a top adviser to former President Barack Obama, published a book that ranks dismally on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble, but was placed on The New York Times Best Seller list.
Anomalies around the book’s sales figures in industry databases have some in the book business questioning whether Jarrett, who’s rumored to have received a million-dollar-plus advance, paid a company to game the numbers.
Her book, which was published April 2, is number 1,030 on Amazon’s list of top sellers and has only three reviews on the site. It similarly ranks 1,244 on Barnes and Noble where signed copies are being sold for less than the suggested retail for unsigned copies.
Where do people buy books if not on Amazon or from Barnes & Noble? And, if there is such a place, how is it that everyone who bought this book, did not buy it from two of the largest book sellers in America? Strange.
Jarrett’s book is #14 on the NYT list. Luke Rosiak over at the Daily Caller has been doing some digging on this unusual situation. “Given the organic sales of that book and the fact that during the entire week of rollout it barely cracked the top 100 on Amazon, there’s no way the book should have a place on the NYT Best Seller list. Inconceivable,” one prominent book industry insider, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “There’s likely an effort to game the system, it’s the only explanation.”
BookScan tracks the sale of books. BookScan reports that Jarrett’s book outsold all but four of the books on the NYT list. So why not rank it at #5? “It should have been number five, except they excluded a big chunk of her sales for being sketchy. They’ve declared shenanigans,” one book editor told TheDCNF also on the condition of anonymity.
Even more baffling to book world insiders, the Publishers Weekly bestsellers list, which is based on BookScan data, omitted Jarrett’s book from their list of top 25 titles, even though it seemingly should have been seventh.
“This is the first time that I’ve seen a book that doesn’t show up on the PW list but when you drill into BookScan, you see that it had sales that should have been there,” president of the conservative book publisher Regnery, Marji Ross, said.
Curious. Here’s what some experts say: “We all know that when Bookscan excludes a book, then it’s been left off because of something sketchy, a bunch of bulk sales or an unusual geographic spread.” The first industry expert added, “There are some industry sources who don’t think she should be on the list because of fraudulent reporting.”
Rosiak points out there are services that will help an author “sell” their book.
For a price, companies such as Result Source will help authors buy their way onto the bestseller list. The bestseller lists exclude bulk sales, so they work by buying large numbers of books in a way that appears as manual, individual sales. The purchases are also concentrated during one week, ensuring that its numbers are high enough to place in the top 10 during its crucial launch week, even if it means stockpiling and trying to resell those books over a long period of time.
“They just take three months worth of their events books, all their corporate clients and speeches, and they funnel them through this company,” the editor said.
Result Source generally bought between 10,000 and 11,000 copies in the first week in order to ensure a spot on the bestseller list, he said, another red flag with Jarrett’s 12,600 number. “Is that 11,000 bulk sales and then only 1,600 copies? If Viking paid $1 million and the organic sales were 1,600 …”
What’s the upside? A nice “New York Times’ best seller” achievement to add on a resume. Jarrett is said to have gotten seven figures to write the book. How disappointing for the publisher who was looking to make a profit. Keep your eye out for Jarrett’s book at Dollar General, whatever the title may be.
Image from Getty Images.