A friend asked me the other day what I thought about the Dinesh D’Souza vs. Costco controversy. I told her I hadn’t heard about it, but that I hadn’t had any interest in anything Dinesh D’Souza has to say since the big 2012 scandal involving his dodgy behavior with a woman not his wife during their separation — this, while he was heading up a prominent Evangelical college and going around the country being a rock star on the Evangelical circuit. But I thought I’d look into this Costco thing, which has blown up big on conservative media.
Costco pulled D’Souza’s new book off its shelves a month into its run, claiming poor sales. D’Souza cried foul, saying it must be because the company’s former CEO gave money to Obama, and Obama has had good words to say about the company. The story went viral on conservative media, and the D’Souza book became an Amazon bestseller … which resulted in Costco putting the book back on its shelves.
I’ll give this to D’Souza: he’s a brilliant marketer, and knows how to stoke the right-wing outrage machine to make his new book a bestseller. Costco said it pulled D’Souza’s book after a month because it was barely selling, and the store wanted to make space for new titles:
In a statement from CEO Craig Jelinek sent to the media (in hopes of quelling the continuing brouhaha), Costco revealed that D’Souza’s book had been sold 3,753 times in its stores, “or approximately 15 books per Costco location.” To the Post, Galanti said that Clinton’s had sold somewhere north of 17,000 in the last three weeks of June — about five times as much.
This makes perfect sense. In a business like Costco’s, you can’t keep on shelves books that don’t sell well.
And look, you know why Obama praised Costco? Because it keeps prices low but plays its employees a good wage, and offers good benefits. I praise Costco for that too! Even if the company is as guilty as D’Souza says of making an economic decision for political reasons, I’ll keep shopping at Costco (which to my knowledge never stocked my book The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming) in part because the way they treat their employees means a lot more to me than the ego of a senior vice president of Conservative, Inc.
Of course D’Souza managed to invent outrage over Costco’s supposed bias against him, wind up conservative media and its viewers and listeners, and drive his meager-selling new title to bestsellerdom. Well done, Dinesh D’Souza! You’re a pro. Maybe I should learn something about how to troll my future books to the top of the bestseller list. Costco is no doubt happy to have the book back on its shelves because now people are buying it. D’Souza hit bottom, kept digging — and struck gold.
A Milwaukee reviewer said D’Souza’s new film (the book is a companion volume) shows why D’Souza is the right-wing version of left-wing agitpropster Michael Moore:
Each filmmaker speaks to audiences who share their core curriculum. But while Moore is a brawler, D’Souza’s strategy is rope-a-dope death by a thousand cuts. Moore, who appears in the film superimposed on the Times Square Jumbotron, sees America as half-full, but D’Souza sees it as without blame or blemish.
If that’s the kind of thing you like, you can once again buy it at Costco.