Business

Conservative Authors' Lawsuit Exposes Their Secret To "Success"

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For years, publishing houses that put out “conservative non-fiction” have used a very tried and true method for pumping up the popularity of their authors’ screeds. They sell a bunch of their books in bulk at cut rate prices to book clubs so titles will show up on The New York Times best seller list.

Why does that make sense? Well, the strategy here is that if it shows up on the list, that’s pretty much all the marketing they need to get the author on talk shows and therefore jump start the marketing campaign.

Now some conservative authors are suing one of these publishing houses for royalties from the “sales” of their books, thus exposing the publishing house for the raconteurs they are and the conservative authors as, well, not too bright.

From The New York Times:

Five authors have sued the parent company of Regnery Publishing, a Washington imprint of conservative books, charging that the company deprives its writers of royalties by selling their books at a steep discount to book clubs and other organizations owned by the same parent company.

In a suit filed in United States District Court in Washington yesterday, the authors Jerome R. Corsi, Bill Gertz, Lt. Col. Robert (Buzz) Patterson, Joel Mowbray and Richard Miniter state that Eagle Publishing, which owns Regnery, “orchestrates and participates in a fraudulent, deceptively concealed and self-dealing scheme to divert book sales away from retail outlets and to wholly owned subsidiary organizations within the Eagle conglomerate.”

Some of the authors’ books have appeared on the New York Times best-seller list, including “Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry,” by Mr. Corsi and John E. O’Neill (who is not a plaintiff in the suit), Mr. Patterson’s “Dereliction of Duty: The Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Compromised America’s National Security” and Mr. Miniter’s “Shadow War: The Untold Story of How Bush Is Winning the War on Terror.” In the lawsuit the authors say that Eagle sells or gives away copies of their books to book clubs, newsletters and other organizations owned by Eagle “to avoid or substantially reduce royalty payments to authors.”

Heh, yeah, that’s why they wanted to do it. They sold them to fake entities to avoid paying them royalties. OR, they sold them to fake entities to make the books seem more popular than they were. I’m going with the latter.

More…

In Regnery’s case, according to the lawsuit, the publisher sells books to sister companies, including the Conservative Book Club, which then sells the books to members at discounted prices, “at, below or only marginally above its own cost of publication.” In the lawsuit the authors say they receive “little or no royalty” on these sales because their contracts specify that the publisher pays only 10 percent of the amount received by the publisher, minus costs — as opposed to 15 percent of the cover price — for the book.

Mr. Miniter said that meant that although he received about $4.25 a copy when his books sold in a bookstore or through an online retailer, he only earned about 10 cents a copy when his books sold through the Conservative Book Club or other Eagle-owned channels. “The difference between 10 cents and $4.25 is pretty large when you multiply it by 20,000 to 30,000 books,” Mr. Miniter said. “It suddenly occurred to us that Regnery is making collectively jillions of dollars off of us and paying us a pittance.” He added: “Why is Regnery acting like a Marxist cartoon of a capitalist company?”

It sucks to be a hack!

  • Rob

    Sadly I doubt this will put a dent in the practice responsible for the garbage put out there.

  • rachel

    They’re about as bright as the farmer who killed the goose that laid golden eggs.

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  • scott

    Are you sure that book club sales count in the NY Times bestseller list??? I always thought they just included traditional bookstores, but i am far from certain. thanks.