Some months ago I commented on preacher Mark Driscoll and his Seattle megachurch using ResultSource to purchase thousands of copies of a book of his to assure it would make the bestseller lists–and how repugnant I found this practice. He has now resigned his position at the church, citing his arrogant behavior as one of the reasons. Regardless of the rhetoric, he used between $180,000 and $210,000 of church-supporters’ money (depending on which numbers one wants to accept) to create bogus sales, but what’s most amazing about this is that he has profited by as much as $500,000. Like everything with book sales, these numbers are up for some serious scrutiny, but the one indisputable issue is that ResultSource’s efforts–and the resulting Number 5 rating on the New York Times bestseller list–resulted in interviews for Driscoll on CNN and The View, among other talk environments.
During one 16-day stretch, his book sold 96,000 copies that were purchased through Amazon and which would likely not have remotely approached this level without the ResultSource impetus. Now Driscoll has abdicated his throne, and apparently all of this profit is tax-free, since it was gleaned while he was disseminating The Word. If someone feels I’m being sacrilegious, I’m sorry, but my purpose for discussing this situation is to illustrate how the entire process can be corrupted. If anyone has a quarter of a million dollars to spare, this person’s material can achieve bestseller status. I’ll leave the tax ramifications to other folks to adjudicate. All I’m interested in explaining is the way the sales numbers for a book can be manipulated–and that it disgusts me because so many of us toil so very long and hard just to get a fair hearing for our respective materials. Here’s a link that details the entirety of Driscoll’s book’s sales cycle and the way this was achieved.