Amazon, HarperCollins Refute Claims of Bulk Purchase Shenanigans of Ted Cruz’s Bio

a time for truch ted cruz bioWhen 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.

Nate Hoffelder

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Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Mark Coppock13 July, 2015

    When the NYT acts this way against a left-wing politician, I’ll believe that this one was just a mistake.

    1. Nate Hoffelder14 July, 2015

      I don’t know. I honestly think that all of the possibilities are plausible.

  2. puzzled14 July, 2015

    How did HarperCollins investigate this? I thought the publishers don’t know what happens in the sales channel beyond the distributor they initially sell the book to?

  3. Richard Adin14 July, 2015

    @Puzzled: They call the distributors and ask the distributors — that is generally the extent of their investigation.

    I don’t know this as fact in this case, but from my past experience in the business, I would bet that one or more PACs did bulk orders and that is what caught the Times’ eye. That has happened before; a group that normally doesn’t buy bulk quantities suddenly does with the intent to give them away. The NYT Book Review has always had a very inflexible approach to sales number shenanigans or suspected shenanigans, which is one reason why it is considered the leading best-selling measure.

    As for helping Cruz, maybe among his base. But I look at that face and all I am reminded of is Dopey in Disney’s “Snow White”. Cruz is a very smart person, but the image is one that sticks in my mind.

    The real question — especially after the stink conservatives made about John McCain’s birthplace and Barack Obama’s birthplace — is will they question Cruz’s Canadian birth and citizenship, which he only recently gave up.

    1. fjtorres14 July, 2015

      Politician supporters always bulk order.
      Self-help authors alwats bulk order.
      The Bestseller list “facilitators” bulk order.

      Never does the NYT show any interest in delisting.

      As it turns out, Ted “Who?” Cruz is getting a lot of attention among people who never knew he ever existed and credibility among non-liberals who consider an attack by the NYT liberals a badge of honor.

  4. […] biography will be landing on The New York Times' best-seller list this week, after its initial omission saw a week of accusations, recriminations, disputations, and […]

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