In the context of the wholesale media corruption of recent years—from the bogus Steele dossier to the suppression of reporting about Hunter Biden’s laptop—it might seem like small potatoes that Amazon, the world’s third-largest company, appears to have misrepresented the early sales figures of Chadwick Moore’s new biography of Tucker Carlson. Then again, such deception is one small part of a much bigger picture of systematic left-wing bias, in which virtually every power center in Washington and every media outlet in New York has been a participant.

And Moore’s book is hardly the first to experience this kind of treatment from the compilers of bestseller lists. In 2017, Regnery, the conservative publishing house, complained that the New York Times had placed at least a few of its titles lower on its list than they deserved, based on sales figures tracked by other sources. (Friends of mine with long experience in publishing say that the outrageously large advances paid to Democratic Party politicians these days for their unreadable books are little more than money-laundering; but that’s another scandal.)

Here’s a quick summary of the current one. According to an August 16 press release by All Seasons Press, Amazon received 7,523 copies of Tucker. On the book’s publication date, August 1, Amazon listed it as “Sold Out” within minutes. And yet BookScan, a firm that tracks book sales, reported only 3,227 sales of Tucker during its first week. Which raises these questions, as bullet-pointed in All Seasons Press’s release:

Did Amazon sell out of their 7,523 units almost immediately?

If so, why weren’t those sales reported to BookScan?

If they did not sell out their 7,523 unit inventory, why did they announce that the book was sold out and unavailable for sale?

Some other twists: Amazon fulfilled post-publication orders before shipping books to customers who’d preordered Tucker. And after describing the book as “Sold Out,” Amazon didn’t order more copies from the publisher; on the contrary—and quite incredibly—it “emailed many preorder customers to ask if they wanted to cancel their orders,” and required them “to go on a desktop, not the app, and proactively confirm they still wanted the book or the order would automatically cancel.”

In other words, Amazon made it easy for customers to cancel their orders and made it difficult for them to confirm their orders. What merchant eager to sell a product behaves in such a way? When you add it all up, it looks suspicious.

Unsurprisingly, Amazon’s curiously low sales figures for Tucker have been celebrated in the left-wing media. “A newly published biography of fired Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson is not doing well in sales,” sneered the gay monthly The Advocate. “The book, authored by gay conservative Chadwick Moore, sold only 3,000 copies in its first week of publication, which ended August 1.” (In fact, August 1 was the first day of sale.) “A much-hyped biography of the former Fox News host Tucker Carlson,” gloated Martin Pengelly in the Guardian on August 15, “has struggled to find favour with readers. . . . According to Publishers Weekly, Tucker by Chadwick Moore sold just 3,227 copies in its first week after publication on 1 August.” Pengelly added that in “Amazon’s overall books sales rankings”—he didn’t say as of when—“the biography placed 595th.” (At this writing, it’s at #475.) Of course, if Amazon’s 7,523 copies were sold out almost instantly on August 1, as Amazon claimed, that figure alone—to say nothing of sales through Barnes & Noble’s website, at chain and independent bookstores, and at retailers like Target and Walmart—would more than double PW’s sales figure.

Wherever the truth may ultimately lie, All Seasons Press is taking action. It has retained counsel and plans to look into Amazon’s actions in regard to Tucker and, more broadly, the way in which Amazon and other enterprises use BookScan figures to come up with their bestseller lists. I look forward to learning the results.

Photo by Janos Kummer/Getty Images


City Journal is a publication of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (MI), a leading free-market think tank. Are you interested in supporting the magazine? As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, donations in support of MI and City Journal are fully tax-deductible as provided by law (EIN #13-2912529).

Further Reading

Up Next