Sunday, October 26, 2014

NYT Bestseller Status Means Nothing

Mainstream authors make a huge deal out of being "New York Times Bestsellers". I don't know if this metric ever actually meant anything. It means nothing today. For one thing, NYT book reviewers are mainstream elites who are largely divorced from reality. At least, the reality most of us live. They don't reflect our values and preferences. It's been years since I've given any weight to "NYT Bestseller" status of a book or author.

All that aside, the NYT Bestseller list is far too easy to manipulate. I've seen plenty of authors do it. Whenever an author with a sizable social media platform releases a book, they work hard in advance to drum up pre-sales and get the word out so the day the book releases, the numbers are large enough to register. Many promise "bonuses" to pre-buy the book.

I found a video in Mark Dice's archives about how Mark Driscoll, megachurch pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, used $200,000 of his church money to buy copies of his own book to manipulate the NYT Bestseller list:

I had no interest in Mark Driscoll's book. I've read enough Churchian marriage books to break a horse's back if you dropped them on him all at once. Very few are any good at all. Most totally suck. I think "His Needs, Her Needs" was the most useful of all of them. At least it doesn't blame all marriage problems on the husband.

I listened to Mark Driscoll's sermon podcast for a few years, until I stopped. Partly, I'd heard pretty much everything he had to say. Partly also because in my own dissolving marriage, I was tired of him using his pulpit to bash men. All the problems in your marriage are your fault! If you were a better Churchian, your wife would love and respect you. Because women (especially churchian women) have no moral agency or accountability for their own actions. And pastors don't have the balls to hold women accountable. Most of them are run by their wives and the elders' wives. So bite it, Pastor Driscoll.

I'm not surprised by Pastor Driscoll's corruption. But then again, I don't put people on pedestals. I know that all men are as fallible as myself. We all need accountability to keep us from going off the rails.

I'm not sure what he did with the books. He probably used his congregation's money to buy his books to sell the books back to them in the church bookstore, so they could pay twice. Or to give them away to cronies, or burn them to heat his house. In any case, his parishioners lose.

I'm sure he'll give a tear laden repentance and be forgiven, if he hasn't already.

And the NYT Bestseller list is pretty much useless.
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