Skip to comments.Bookstores say customers protest as demand outpaces supply of anti-Kerry book
Posted on 08/24/2004 3:05:46 PM PDT by ambrose
Bookstores say customers protest as demand outpaces supply of anti-Kerry book
NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's two biggest bookstore chains, Barnes & Noble and Borders, say angry customers are accusing them of political bias as the retailers struggle to keep up with demand for a best seller that questions John Kerry's military service in Vietnam.
"Unfit for Command," which went on sale Aug. 11 with a first printing of 85,000, will have 550,000 copies in print by next week, according to Regnery Publishing.
Sales have soared as allegations about the Democratic nominee's wartime actions dominate the presidential campaign.
A co-author of the book, John O'Neill, is a member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which has ran a series of commercials claiming Kerry distorted his past. Kerry and fellow Democrats say the spots are untrue and have demanded that President Bush condemn them. Bush replied Monday that broadcast attacks by outside groups, no matter which side, should have no place in the race for the White House.
"Unfit for Command," by O'Neill and Jerome Corsi, accuses Kerry of lying about his decorated wartime record and betraying comrades by returning from Vietnam and alleging widespread atrocities by U.S. troops. Kerry has made his military service a central part of his campaign.
Copies of the book are scarce. Barnes & Noble said that "Unfit for Command" is out of stock and that thousands of complaints have been received, with some customers saying the book was deliberately not being sold and others saying it shouldn't be sold.
More copies will not be available until later this week, and that order also will not meet demand, Barnes & Noble CEO Steve Riggio said Monday. "We've been put in the difficult position of having to defend ourselves over a title we can't seem to get enough copies of from the publisher," Riggio said.
Borders said Tuesday that "available stock is limited right now" and that it has received hundreds of calls accusing the superstore of bias against the book.
"The misunderstanding among customers seems to be that we are somehow taking an ideological stand," Borders spokeswoman Jenie Dahlmann said Tuesday. "We would gladly sell the book, but ... can't get an adequate supply."
Regnery spokeswoman Kelley Keeler said Tuesday that the company a longtime publisher of conservative authors such as William F. Buckley Jr. and Pat Buchanan can't keep up with the "huge" demand, in part because the book's September publication date was moved up as interest in the book grew.
"We're trying to get more copies out as fast as we can," spokeswoman Keeler said.
Amazon.com, where "Unfit for Command" has been No. 1 on the best-seller list for days, said Tuesday that it was also out of copies. A spokeswoman said she knew of no complaints, but added that customer reviews have been so frequent (more than 900 as of Tuesday) and so political, that a special message was posted on the book's Web page announcing a suspension of "normal customer review policies and rules."
"We usually prohibit ad hominem attacks," the message reads. "That policy in particular seems to be incompatible with presidential election year politics. Therefore, short of obscenities, reviews on this book are now a free-for-all."
The book claims Kerry earned his Silver Star not in a barrage of enemy fire, but by killing a fleeing Viet Cong teenager. It also questions the three Purple Hearts that Kerry earned, saying that none were for serious injuries and two wounds were self-inflicted.
According to Kerry's medical records from his naval service, he still has shrapnel in his thigh from a war injury.
Several of Kerry's fellow servicemen have attacked "Unfit for Command" as inaccurate and politically motivated, and a Kerry campaign spokesman, Chad Clanton, said Tuesday the book had "blatantly false accusations that have been disproved by Navy records."
Keeler said Regnery was "proud to have published the book" and that no revisions were planned for future editions.
You were-now 5-7 weeks from AMAZON direct-all others for quicker delivery are much higher
BG - say you may?
its an engineered "shortage", I am convinced of it. B&N and all the rest is hoping this demand bubble blows over, so they don't have stock in it right now when people want it, and hope people won't come back to get it after the hoopla blows over.
I can be very patient. I think, too, they are hoping, if we REALLY must have it, that we will order online and not pollute their store with it - even though their job is ...books! And the snide clerks who are so far leftie they can barely function, just absolutely gritting their teeth when they have to deal with one of 'those' people. (My experience when I tried to find Peggy Noonan's book at a Waldenbook).
Just looking around today, I saw all manner of books with every kind of opinion and fact and subject matter. That this one book can be so offensive and that one man can have so much power as to stifle - or try to- free speech, while shelves are stocked with Moore's filth, is a little scary and Hitleresque.
I bought mine at B&N online yesterday and it shipped today.
Regnery says nothing about backorders on their web site.
I did order a copy last Thursday from Amazon.com. The shipping estimate was supposed to have been yesterday and the delivery between August 26-30. It has not been shipped yet and the delivery date has not changed yet, as I just checked on my order
I got one copy through amazon.com and a second one from my local independent bookstore.
I've been lending out my second copy to reasonable (but ignorant) lib acquaintances and asking them to read just the introduction and chapter 1, only 15 or so pages.
So far, two have read the whole book and a third is reading it now. It really is a quick read and comes across with a lot of credibility.
Responses so far have been: 'Oh my God!' and 'He's toast.' I can't be sure but I think I may have cost kerry two votes in the People's Republic of Kalifornia, South Bay Area.
I am watching Hannity and Colmes and John O'Neill is the guest. I just had to mute my TV because Alan claims there are inconsistensy in what the Swiftboaters say. What a liar. John O'Neill and the other swift boaters have been consistend unlike Kerry who keeps changing his story at every turn
Gee, and I thought the MSM was saying the whole Vietnam thing was 'old'...no wait, that was TerAYsa who said that.
Well, I think lots of corporate offices involve themselves in politics, but I agree that national bookstore chains are highly unlikely to decide not to sell a bestseller because they disagree with it; the exposure and risk is just too great. Like you said, local managers are a different story. A hardcore liberal has no compunction about forcing his views on someone else whenever he can, even if it is to the detriment of his employer.
The information in the book is eye opening! Little things like joining the Naval RESERVES -- not the regular Navy and wanting 'inactive' status. How many times has that been pointed out?
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