A policy book published by Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s former top White House adviser, has ended up on the New York Times Best Sellers list despite low early sales.
Jarrett’s book had such a bad debut that it went from an initial cover price of $30 to only $18 in just ten days, the Daily Caller reported.
The book was also very low on the sales list for Barnes & Noble Booksellers, appearing at only number 1,244 that first week.
In addition, the Publishers Weekly bestsellers list, which is based on actual book sales as tracked by BookScan, did not even record Jarrett’s book anywhere on its top 25 top selling books.
But despite selling few copies and appearing quite low on the sales lists, Jarrett’s Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward made an astonishing appearance at number 14 on the Times Best Sellers list.
In comparison, book sales for the titles that appear from number one down to number 13 on the outlet’s list sold between 4,500 and 10,000 copies each. Again, Jarrett’s sold only 12,600 copies in its first week.
According to Marji Ross, the president of conservative book publisher Regnery, the inclusion of Jarrett’s book on the Times list is impossible to explain.
“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,” Ross said.
Another source inside the book industry added, “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.”
Another industry insider said, “There are some industry sources who don’t think she should be on the list because of fraudulent reporting.”
The suspicion is that Jarrett hired a company to buy copies of her book to surreptitiously get it placed on a bestseller list.
As the Daily Caller reported:
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.
Some suspect that Jarrett hired such a company to amass the sales record of 11,000 copies that suddenly sprang up after the first week the book was out.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.