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Two Glenns enter, one Glenn leaves
April 27, 2006 8:18 PM   Subscribe

Battle of the blogger book clubs! Glenn Reynolds Drudge vs. Glenn Greenwald Kos (I think.) The winner gets* a copy of the current #1 book on Amazon.
posted by homunculus (31 comments total)

 
*Ideally. But not from me. I'm a cheap bastard.
posted by homunculus at 8:18 PM on April 27, 2006


Then wingnuttia chimed in, because their idea of reliable is Drudge and facts need never get in the way of their spread of propaganda.

Matt Drudge, a man always willing to make his followers look stupid....

Heh. Not that they've needed any help, though.

Priceless. Thanks, homunculus.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:33 PM on April 27, 2006


Truthiness in action.

I really gotta say, though, what kind of reaction did you expect from the talking heads on the neo-con side? It's a power structure based on allegiance to your leader and utter contempt for anyone who disagrees in the least.

Facts don't reach these guys. They never have, and likely never will.
posted by mystyk at 8:33 PM on April 27, 2006


Although both have written and sold more books than me, arguing because one side sold 77 books more than the other is simply pathetic.
posted by furtive at 8:39 PM on April 27, 2006


Arguing at all over this is pretty funny, imo. I enjoy both their blogs, so I think I'll buy both their books.
posted by homunculus at 8:48 PM on April 27, 2006


it should be noted that neither of these authors started a fight. Drudge pulled some shit out of his ass about Kos's book tanking and so others on the left pointed out that Kos has actually sold a few more in less time.

But honsetly, Drudge and R. Simon are idiots
posted by slapshot57 at 8:51 PM on April 27, 2006


it should be noted that neither of these authors started a fight.

That's what I was trying to indicate with the strike outs. But broadswords in a pit would settle the matter once and for all.
posted by homunculus at 9:04 PM on April 27, 2006


When I saw Kos on the Daily Show, I wondered why anyone would buy his book. I mean, I sorta kinda agree with him on major stuff even though I'm not much of a fan of the Kos site, but it sounded like a bunch of snake oil -- like self-congratulatory "we're really changing the way politics is done!" nonsense when Kos and the left haven't gotten much in the way of victories in many years now.

It's like the Dean campaign: yes it was slightly different that much of it took place online and reached apathetic slackers with internet connections but in the end, it didn't amount to jack squat. Dean still pulled out, the money didn't really help anything, the opposition party totally lost.
posted by mathowie at 9:05 PM on April 27, 2006


half the links don't load for me. is it me? seriously, i just switched isps, so i'm curious.

So is that Glenn Greenwald thing the result of those bots I keep hearing about? Is that really the #1 book on Amazon?

I got really excited when I saw Cesar's Way, until I realized it wasn't this Cesar.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:11 PM on April 27, 2006


I'll buy both their books.

The Glenns, that is.
posted by homunculus at 9:19 PM on April 27, 2006


half the links don't load for me. is it me?

I have no idea. That's weird.
posted by homunculus at 9:27 PM on April 27, 2006


Kos and the left haven't gotten much in the way of victories in many years now.

Okay then---I guess we can all give up and go home. Whew!
posted by washburn at 9:30 PM on April 27, 2006


mathowie: You know Dean is now running the DNC because of those same slackers, right?
posted by aaronetc at 9:30 PM on April 27, 2006


Okay then---I guess we can all give up and go home. Whew!

No, it's more like with loss of the presidency, both houses of congress, and many, many state races, a book congratulating ourselves for liberal wins online seems hollow.
posted by mathowie at 9:46 PM on April 27, 2006


mathowie, I don't think it's self-congratulation -- more like working out philosophy and strategy in public. Which seems like a good idea to me.

Yeah, I hate the pissing-match aspect -- it just encourages the apathetic "they're all alike" response. But then, what's the proper response to an objectively false attack? Let it circulate and reverberate?
posted by vetiver at 10:01 PM on April 27, 2006



When I saw Kos on the Daily Show, I wondered why anyone would buy his book. I mean, I sorta kinda agree with him on major stuff even though I'm not much of a fan of the Kos site, but it sounded like a bunch of snake oil -- like self-congratulatory "we're really changing the way politics is done!" nonsense when Kos and the left haven't gotten much in the way of victories in many years now.

Well, kos says that they've been backing candidates who have slim chances of winning in order to help contest every seat. The idea is, if you back a candidate in a republican stronghold then it'll help if tax republican resources, and at least give people a chance to vote dem.

That's what they claim anyway.

Secondly, it was dean, not his supporters who lost the race -- by cracking under pressure. Like Kos, dean never claimed from the beginning that he was planning on winning the presidency, it wasn't until he started leading in the polls that he thought he had a chance. I would rather dean, with all his flaws ran as the dem candidate against bush then Kerry though.

Kerry was just so spineless and wishy-washy. I have no idea why democratic primary voters think that's a good way to win elections.

As far as presidential elections go, the democratic primary voters need to figure out how to pick someone other people are going to vote for.

And I don't think the book is very 'self congratulatory' .
posted by delmoi at 10:49 PM on April 27, 2006


So we're talking less than 10,000 books total for both authors? I'm not in the book business but it doesn't sound like anybody has much to crow about here. Let's give them both a shiny foil star and be done with it.
posted by 2sheets at 11:34 PM on April 27, 2006


Having not read any of the books mentioned, I will now give my uninformed opinion.

My understanding of the Kos book is that it's about Democrats building a media "noise machine" similar to what the Republicans have developed over the years with talk radio, Fox News, and think tanks, but using the internets and grass roots and stuff like that. Again, I could be wrong, I haven't read the book.

My understanding of the Instapundit book, is that it's more about blogging and how bloggers are challenging the punditocracy and the media. Haven't read, so I could be way off.

As for Drudge, my understanding is that he hates blogs and has no problem taking a cheap shot at a first time author (who happens to have one of the biggest blogs) to make him look like a loser and a failure (especially a liberal blogger). I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Drudge hates blogs.
posted by jefbla at 12:10 AM on April 28, 2006


I got the same impression as #1 upon seeing Kos on the Daily Show. It seems pretty early to be talking about how much politics have changed. And yeah, Dean got the DNC chairmanship, but it's a bit of a booby prize (though in fairness, I think Dean losing the dem nomination had a lot to do with the weird machinations of US primaries and not so much with him or his message).

But really, the whole blogofight around this, as expressed in the links given, is a prime example of why I personally don't find partisan bloggery worth reading. I mean, really, 4325 sales versus 4402? Surely if one book gets seventy-seven more sales in its first month on the market, its ideas are unassailably superior, right?

Furthermore, the idea that Democrats should build an unending bullshit-and-money machine to go head to head with the gleaming Republican version just seems like an enthusiastic first leap in a race to the bottom. Taxing safe Republicans - which seems like code for "forcing Republicans to spend lots of unnecessary money" to me - just seems to be buying into the same corrupt system to me. Pardon my wide-eyed idealism, but somebody's got to take the high road here. It worked in the civil rights movement.
posted by whir at 12:40 AM on April 28, 2006


2Sheets:

"So we're talking less than 10,000 books total for both authors? I'm not in the book business but it doesn't sound like anybody has much to crow about here."

Actually both Glenn Reynolds and Kos are doing all right, book sales-wise. In both cases, the books have only been out for a couple of months (or less), and both books have sold close to 5k copies -- which is the amount the average non-fiction book will sell over its printed life. This suggests that both books could get to about 10k or above in hardcover, which is pretty good (and both books will get the benefit of being released in an election year). And it suggests both books might do well if/when they go into paperback.

What's unusual here is that people are talking book numbers at all; usually numbers get discussed only in the context of the .0001 percent of authors who sell millions of books with each go. Most books sell in the low thousands, and as an author if your unit sales get into the five figures you're doing pretty well.

For publicity purposes I think authors and publishers prefer to shy away from actual units sold and focus on things like reviews and bestseller list rankings, which give the impression of high-volume sales rather more than the raw numbers might.
posted by jscalzi at 3:39 AM on April 28, 2006


I mean, really, 4325 sales versus 4402?

Look at the release dates -- Crashing the Gate was published a month later, and only went on sale a couple of weeks ago.

4325 books in six weeks, vs. 4402 in two weeks. Plus, Bookscan completely misses the special editon that Kos sold through his website, to the tune of another 5000+ copies - and that Bookscan doesn't track every possible sale, so there's almost certainly more sales for both authors. This puts Kos well over 10,000 copies sold (not printed, sold.)

10,000 copies is a very respectable sell.

The reason this became an issue is simple. Drudge, desperate to smear Kos, posts that his sales are horrible. Right wing blogs all leap on this, claiming that Yet Another Liberal has failed, compared to Glenn Reynolds, who's selling well.

The real point here is that dozens of right wingers are out there stating the "fact" that Kos' book is a complete flop, compared to Reynold's, showing that there's just no market for liberal claptrap.

The real fact -- Kos' book has, between retail and direct, sold twice as many copies in well under half the time. For the size publisher and the market, Crashing the Gate is a real hit -- it's not the sort of Surprise! You Are Being Crushed! hit that Harry Potter & The Philosphers Sorcerers Stone was for Scholastic1, but a real hit, and it is still selling. The publisher took a bit of a gamble on a 50,000 copy print run, and it looks like that gamble is paying off.

File this under the same heading as "Air America is failing", despite expanding from 6 to 100 stations, increasing ad revenue, etc., or more simply...

It is yet another bold faced lie made to convince you and the media that the Democratic Party and liberals have failed again.

1) Scholastic rarely has 50,000 book runs. Then Harry Potter hit. This caused a bit of a problem in the publishing world, as Scholastic called every press they could and waved money to get Press Time, Right Now, to handle the load. For weeks, if you missed a press deadline, your book slipped two months, because Scholastic bought it all.

This year, Scholastic formally warned in SEC filings that, with the 7th book in sight, that they expected a major drop in revenues in years afterwards.
posted by eriko at 5:25 AM on April 28, 2006


I'm really looking forward to Greenwald's book, he's a real breath of fresh air in political commentary.
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:38 AM on April 28, 2006


I'm reading a lot of misinformed opinions in this thread. Especially regarding the content and message of CTG.
Eriko gets it right on the cause of the kerfluffle and the issue of sales. Mathowie completely misses it on the message and content.
Oh, and Instacracker and Sludge both suck.
posted by nofundy at 7:13 AM on April 28, 2006


Instacracker

No, no, no, no. The way to make fun of him is by adding lots of extra N's. Try it:

Glennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn Reynnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnolds. Fun!

It doesn't make any sense (I guess all the extra N's could be self-replicating nano-machines that are GOING TO FIX EVERYTHING IT'S TRUE), but neither does Instacracker: he's not particularly known for talking about race.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:14 AM on April 28, 2006


As for the Kos book, the fact that Charlie Cook called it "one of the two best books I've read in years about the Democratic Party, its myriad problems and challenges," is enough to tell me that it is substantial and well argued. Cook is one of the deans of non-partisan analysis of the political parties and elections. He's inside the beltway but he's very smart and he doesn't drink the cool-aid from either side.

The fact that he said this about a book written by an outside-the-beltway insurgent speaks volumes. It's instant cred. Hopefully the Dem establishment will read and heed some of what it says.
posted by alms at 9:07 AM on April 28, 2006


I think viewing Crashing the Gate as The Book which will bring victory to Democratia is way overstating its intentions. The basic message can be distilled like this:

The Democrats have been losing, year after year. Every campaign, they hire consultants and media experts and admakers whose experience is ... losing campaigns. Every year the influence of these "losers" has grown, and the voice of the average voter has been ignored. Indeed, people are told to shut up about certain subjects, so the party can win. But they still lose. Maybe we should give those average voters a voice again.

The book isn't any kind of magic bean from which a November victory will sprout, but it does tell disaffected voters to get their butts in gear and "take over" local parties -- often easy because the local party structures are so whittled down to the brittle bones of politicos that they don't have any idea how to respond to an actual energized base.

Kos and Armstrong are not basing their argument in any way on a bogus "look what we've done" argument. It isn't even strictly limited to Democratic constituencies, if you can believe that, although clearly they've aimed at energizing Democrats. But ultimately it isn't a book for "everybody" to read -- just those few thousand people who have the time and energy to devote to harnessing the reins of the party, because they're fed up with what it does or fails to do in their name. So it has an inherently limited audience. In a way all these books do, and they're still doing quite well.
posted by dhartung at 9:47 AM on April 28, 2006


Glennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn Reynnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnolds.

Yeah, that is fun PST! Too bad he didn't have ssssssses.
On the Cracker moniker, if the foo shits ...

Latest Breaking News!
The war is over and Drudge is a confirmed idiot!
posted by nofundy at 12:27 PM on April 28, 2006


Greenwald addresses Byron York's confusion.
posted by homunculus at 5:33 PM on April 28, 2006


Building the Secrecy Wall higher and higher
posted by homunculus at 12:53 PM on April 29, 2006


Media finally starting to report the President's systematic lawbreaking

Developing...
posted by homunculus at 12:48 PM on April 30, 2006


Book tops charts before it's published: Influential bloggers, promotional video make 'Patriot' a hit
posted by homunculus at 12:48 PM on May 13, 2006


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