The Grudge Against Drudge: O'Reilly May Be Right
It looks like Bill O'Reilly may have had a legitimate bone to pick with Matt Drudge over Drudge's posting of Bookscan sales for both O'Reilly's and Al Franken's books.
As the story went, O'Reilly claimed that Drudge wasn't reporting the right Bookscan numbers and his book finished higher than Franken's in the year end sales. Drudge reported that Franken's book finished higher.
What ensued was a catfight between O'Reilly and Drudge. Several people mentioned that this was a long-standing feud, nothing new. Some said that Drudge has a grudge against O'Reilly.
Well, imagine my surprise when I get my daily Publisher's Weekly email yesterday and this story pops up: [user: fchblog pw: fchblog]
When Bill O'Reilly and Al Franken were arguing last month about who had sold more books, online muckraker Matt Drudge stepped in with the final word by citing an inviolable source: BookScan.....
...So how representative are the service's numbers? An informal survey of the top-selling books of 2003 showed some surprising things.
BookScan generally claims to represent between 70% and 75% of sales in the industry (Wal-Mart and some of the supermarket chains are among those who decline to report.) But a comparison with in-print figures supplied by publishers reveals that the numbers are more likely to represent about 65%, even after deducting for unsold books and returns.
So, maybe the Bookscan numbers that Drudge posted were skewed. I was about to do some research on this when I got another email from PW, containing this tidbit:
So much for branding: BookScan says it has put Matt Drudge on alert about his use of their lists. While BookScan says it generally frowns upon a media source that cites a number without getting it from the company, it will only try to enforce its copyright against those who print more wholesale reproductions. "We have not licensed Mr. Drudge to put our numbers on his site," said the company's Jim King, noting that Drudge was the only offender. "We're concerned with what he's doing." King said he wasn't concerned that Drudge was jeopardizing the company's licensing agreements but said it wanted to be sure "the information was accurate and from a proper source."
So, even Bookscan says that Drudge's numbers may be wrong. Not only that, he shouldn't even be posting them. Perhaps this time O'Reilly's whining was justified.
I'm going to write Matt Drudge and ask him to defend himself on this one, but I hear the great one is too busy to answer mail from anyone other than celebrities and people running for president.
[Do I have a grudge against Drudge, you ask? Not really. I just don't think he's worth the god-like status he's given]