HarperCollins vs. the New York Times

Thursday evening, we published a post on the New York Times declaring war on [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] by not including his book on their Bestseller List. Today, HarperCollins, the book’s publisher, is pushing book. This is actually fairly big news, considering the New York Times has been viewed as the premiere book ranking source. Via McKay Coppins at BuzzFeed:

In a statement provided to BuzzFeed News, HarperCollins publicity director Tina Andreadis said the company looked into the matter and “found no evidence of bulk orders or sales through any retailer or organization.”

It is common practice for politicians to try to game the Times’ prestigious bestseller list by having their campaigns or political action committees buy up thousands of copies of their books. When Cruz’s book was left off the list this week despite outselling many of the entries that did make it, the paper’s spokesperson justified the omission by telling Politico they found an “overwhelming preponderance of evidence” that the sales numbers were being padded by bulk purchases.

By publicly refuting the Times’ claim , HarperCollins is taking on one of the most influential forces in the publishing industry — an exceedingly rare move for any large publisher.

And via Dylan Byers of POLITICO, who broke the story yesterday:

The On Media blog reported Thursday that the Times was keeping Cruz’s “A Time For Truth” off of its forthcoming bestsellers list, despite the fact that the book has sold more copies in its first week than all but two of the Times’ bestselling titles. In an email, Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy attributed that decision to an “overwhelming preponderance of evidence… that sales were limited to strategic bulk purchases.”

But on Friday, HarperCollins issued a statement declaring that it had found “no evidence” of bulk purchases.

“HarperCollins Publishers has investigated the sales pattern for [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ]’s book ‘A Time For Truth’ and has found no evidence of bulk orders or sales through any retailer or organization,” the publisher said in a statement, first reported by BuzzFeed.

The Grey Lady is finding itself – once again – challenged, as it has struggled in this new era to recognize the fragility of its position as one of the most influential voices in media. Even as recently as ten years ago, the Times was infallible. It was the place to get news. Other legacy papers like it followed suit, but the Times was the standard bearer. Now? There is such a diversity of media that people who recognize the bias the Times flaunts in its pages now have options. A very, very wide array of options.

The Times is probably a bit shocked that they would get such pushback, but I think they underestimated the type of opponent they were taking on – like them, HarperCollins is huge. The fight they picked may not have been the best one to pick. We’ll see.