Sen. Ted Cruz’s memoir “A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America” has sold 12,000 copies, reports Time magazine, and is ranked at No. 16 on Amazon’s list of bestselling books. Readers interested in the Texas Republican’s autobiography can find it at most bookstores, but there’s one place they won’t see it -- the New York Times bestseller list.
The newspaper has confirmed that it won’t be including Cruz’s book on its list because it suspects its sales numbers were artificially inflated by “strategic bulk purchases.” Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the New York Times, told Politico: “We have uniform standards that we apply to our bestseller list, which includes an analysis of book sales that goes beyond simply the number of books sold. This book didn’t meet that standard this week.”
Gaming bestseller lists isn’t unheard of in the publishing industry. While organizations that count book purchases typically account for large bulk purchases, and disregard them when making bestseller lists, marketing firms like ResultSource Inc. run “bestseller campaigns” on behalf of authors who hire them for hundreds of thousands of dollars, arranging book purchases to appear to be by small groups or individuals, often via lists often provided by the authors themselves.
Cruz strongly denies the bulk-buy allegations. Rick Tyler, a spokesman for Cruz’s campaign, called the claims of bulk purchases “a blatant falsehood,” adding, “We call on the Times, release your so-called ‘evidence.’ Demonstrate that your charge isn’t simply a naked fabrication, designed to cover up your own partisan agenda.”
Cruz’s publisher, HarperCollins, has also denied the charges, saying it has found “no evidence of bulk orders or sales through any retailer or organization.”
Politico notes that Cruz’s memoir has sold more copies than “more than 18 of the 20 titles that will appear on the bestseller list for the week ending July 4,” including conservative author Ann Coulter’s “Adios America” and comedian Aziz Ansari’s “Modern Romance.”
The feud with the New York Times might not be all bad news for Cruz, however. Many conservatives are skeptical of the newspaper, which they routinely accuse of promoting a liberal agenda. Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas was one of many Republicans who attacked the newspaper for refusing to include Cruz’s book, tweeting, "@NYTimes shows bias by purposefully omitting @TedCruz book from bestsellers despite it being 3rd best.”
Philip Bump of the Washington Post predicts that the New York Times will eventually include Cruz’s book on its bestseller list, “in which case Cruz gets the conservative cred of being blackballed by the Times and the PR bonus of being a Times bestseller. Win-win.”