When the New York Times left Texas Senator Ted Cruz's memoir off the NYT Best-Seller List last week, they justified the move with the claim that there were signs that someone was trying to game the list by strategically making bulk purchases.
It wouldn't be the first time that someone pulled this trick, nor would it be the last, but now there's serious doubt whether the Cruz campaign or anyone else has actually committed any misdeeds.
Both Amazon and HarperCollins have publicly denied the possibility of purchase irregularities. HarperCollins released a statement to Buzzfeed earlier today, and Amazon has also told Politico that they don't see anything fishy.
"As of yesterday, A Time for Truth was the number 13 best-selling book, and there is no evidence of unusual bulk purchase activity in our sales data," Amazon pr director Sarah Gelman said in an email.
HarperCollins' statement reads:
HarperCollins Publishers has investigated the sales pattern for Ted Cruz’s book A TIME FOR TRUTH and has found no evidence of bulk orders or sales through any retailer or organization.
A TIME FOR TRUTH ranked high on other publishing industry bestseller lists including Nielsen Bookscan (#4), a subscription service that tracks the vast majority of book sales in America, The Wall Street Journal (#4) and Barnes and Noble (#7). All these outlets omit bulk orders books from their rankings.
There's no way to tell whether the NY Times got it wrong/right, or if they deliberately left the Senator off the list for political reasons, but in any case this incident has been a great boon to the Senator's presidential campaign. The free media attention is priceless, and any conflict between a conservative politician and a liberal newspaper is bound to energize the party base, leading to a boost in the polls.