Monday, April 04, 2005

Republicans Winning Publishing Wars Too

Next time you go to your local bookstore, take a look at the current stock of political books. On an investigative trip by The Yellow Line, we discovered that conservative-leaning books outnumbered liberal-leaning books by an informal count of 7 to 1. And this was at a bookstore in a very liberal neighborhood (on the magazine rack, the conservative journal The Weekly Standard was sandwiched between Hustler above and Out Magazine below).

What’s going on here? Well, famed politco Mary Matalin, who has just signed on to head Simon & Schuster’s conservative books imprint, has a theory. In a Newsweek interview she claims:

We’re on a conservative continuum. Liberalism is dead.

That seems overstated. Liberalism isn’t dead, it’s just pining. Matalin more clearly describes what’s going on when she admits:

I’m not looking for contrary books. I cover the shiller niche.

There you have it. There is a huge market for conservatives who want to be shilled to. In fact, the Matalin imprint is joining a saturated market of conservative publishers including Penguin’s Sentinel, Random House's Crown Forum and ur-conservative publisher Regenery.

Are liberals more adverse to shilling? That’s highly doubtful, considering the publishing success of Michael Moore and Al Franken. What seems to be going on is that the election is over and all the anti-Bush books are gone (and they sold quite well according to this USA Today story). Outside of telling each other that Bush is really, really, really bad (really), the liberals just don’t have much else to shill.

The conservatives, meanwhile, have yet to run out of pabulum to feed each other. Does the party that has the most to shill have the most to say? Maybe so. In the book wars like the political wars, liberals seem at a loss for ideas outside of bashing Bush.


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