It’s a little late, but I have some tidbits about the whole Unfit for Command foofarah that might be interesting. (A disclaimer: I am not a journalist, and my ability to back some of this up is limited. Anything prefaced with “I am told” is something that I have in fact been told, and have no reason to doubt, but cannot verify.)
I work in a bookstore, you see, and thus selling Unfit for Command, the book written by the head of Swift Boat Vets for Truth, is part of my job. Or it would be, if we could get some in. I wish we could, because then the conservatives might stop yelling at me.
Unfit for Command is published by Regnery Press, a publisher of conservative books of various stripes. (Its owner is also currently involved in setting up an online dating service for heterosexual white Christians, it seems, for fear that they will be outbred by all the dirt people. Perhaps that was needlessly inflammatory. But I digress.) Regnery, it appears, was totally unprepared for the major media blitz that ensued; I am told that they printed 30,000 copies, which is about what you would do for a first novel. Demand was way, way higher.
Ordinarily, one deals with such a situation by sending some portion of each customer’s order. This is not what Regnery did. Instead, I am told they filled some orders fully, but not others. No one in the Bay Area had it, except for Borders, and they ran out within a few days. Some have speculated that Regnery may have tried to focus their efforts on supplying swing states with the book, but I have no evidence on that.
At this point, the angry phone calls began. It appears that right-wing talk show hosts have been telling their listeners that “liberal bookstores” are suppressing the book; at least, that’s what the legions of customers calling with venom in their voice to demand the book said. We will leave aside the question of what sane bookstore would buy dozens of books and then not sell them.
By now, the surge is subsiding; most of the charges the book needed to make are out in the public sphere, I think, so the point is probably sort of moot. Somewhere in there, we got a handful of copies which we used to fill special orders; this helps a bit, in that it’s easier to mollify an enraged conservative by telling them “we’re sold out” than with “we don’t have it yet”.
Ironically, very few of the livid legion actually want to order the book; they just want to test the liberal conspiracy. We may wind up sitting on a pile of books when Regnery finally fills our order.