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« More Peaceful Religion | Main | Back In The News »

Gore Book Sales Tank, Supporters Claim Unfair Tactics

November 22, 2002

SEATTLE (APUPI) Former Vice President Al Gore's new book, "Joined At The Heart," has been out for over a week and a half, but it's selling poorly, despite an expensive campaign by Al and Tipper, and much free publicity from the media. Yesterday, it was #11,231 on's list of top-selling books.

Supporters of the former Vice President are calling foul, however, claiming that the Amazon web site is very confusing, and makes it difficult to purchase the book properly. They have airlifted a large number of hired lawyers into Seattle to sue Amazon, in order to force it to issue refunds on mistakenly purchased books, and instead send copies of the Gore book to Amazon customers.

There are also allegations, unproven so far, that there have been police roadblocks and other Republican-funded tactics to prevent Gore supporters from getting to Borders and Barnes & Noble.

However, defenders of Amazon claimed that the Gores had tried to artificially inflate sales by busing hordes of people who had never before used the Internet to public web terminals, in order to allow them to purchase the book. In addition, many were given mistaken instructions, and told to "purchase a book on every page."

There are also claims that UPS has informed Amazon that many of the orders were undeliverable due to non-existent addresses. Several drivers reported that some of their attempted deliveries ended up being to graveyards.

Though many of the site designers were Gore supporters themselves, there were numerous complaints of difficulty in using it.

"When you go to the website, there are lots of flashing ads and things, and you have to manually type in the name of the author or title to get to a page that allows you to actually buy the book," said one frustrated customer. "They wouldn't take food stamps, or even cash or checks--just credit cards. I don't have a credit card."

Even those who managed to complete a purchase didn't always do it correctly. Many accidentally purchased Pat Buchanan's "Death of the West." Several ended up with Segway scooters.

"Many of Mr. Gore's supporters were new to this, and had never even read a book before, let alone purchased one," explained Gore's chief attorney, David Boyishness. "They had no experience with web sites, or reading material."

He went on, "It's ridiculous to think that people like this would want to buy a book by Pat Buchanan. His book is the antithesis of everything that Mr. Gore's book stands for."

"We know that if everyone who had intended to purchase the Gores' book had actually been able to do so, the sales would be much higher."

The Gores are requesting that the court order a mandatory repurchase of all mistaken books, and have those mistaken purchases replaced with the Gore book. Amazon attorneys have argued that there's no way to determine a book purchaser's intent, except to look at the actual on-line orders.

"It wouldn't be fair to those people who actually wanted Mr. Buchanan's book to force them to return it, and have to read the Gore book instead," said an Amazon spokesman.

The Gore team doesn't accept this argument, and will ask the court to "estimate" the number of people who would have actually purchased the Gore book had the site been easier to manage, and randomly send them books while garnishing their wages for the cost of it.

Mr. Boyishness summed it up.

"It was very unfair of to make it so complicated and difficult to buy Mr. and Mrs. Gore's book. Buying and reading books are one of the foundations of our democracy. It's very important to make every purchase count, and we expect that the court will agree with us."

(copyright 2002 by Rand Simberg)

Posted by Rand Simberg at November 23, 2002 01:35 PM
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Oh, man...I got through almost three paragraphs before tipping to the satire thing.

Does that say more about your comedic talent or Gore's capacity for shamelessness?

Posted by Charlie at November 23, 2002 03:06 PM

Some of both, but it's getting pretty darned hard to parody Gore.

Posted by Rand Simberg at November 23, 2002 03:19 PM

Cn't comment now. I'm still on oxygen from the earlier Gore post.

Posted by Kevin McGehee at November 23, 2002 03:38 PM

Al and Tipper's book is "Joined at the Heart." "Spirit of Family" is a coffeetable book by professional photographers, probably edited by Tipper, that's being sold as a companion.

Posted by Joanne Jacobs at November 24, 2002 04:17 PM

OK, down the memory hole...

Posted by Rand Simberg at November 24, 2002 05:04 PM

If you go to Joined at the Heart, it sells for $18 and is at 1,909 in sales. The coffee table book sells for $25 and is at 1,128. How bad must the book be if the coffee table companion is outselling it with a price 40% higher? Apparently, Gore's supporters have an easier time with pictures than his heavy Harvard prose.

It takes a village to get sales up. Let's all order the combo set for $40 now!

Posted by Richard A. Heddleson at November 24, 2002 06:46 PM

Gore Wars. Episode II.

Posted by Mike Sapp at November 25, 2002 08:07 AM

Oh, that's hilarious, Rand. Great job.

Posted by susanna at November 25, 2002 03:18 PM

I actually got 2/3 through before getting the joke. It seemed abdolutely plausible that Gore would react this way. Boy, did that bullet whiz by our country's ear.

Posted by Ed at November 25, 2002 04:34 PM

You should write for the Onion

Posted by Samantha at November 25, 2002 05:48 PM


Posted by ted at November 26, 2002 07:58 AM

If you follow Rand's link to Amazon's web page for this book, you'll see the following:

Our Customers' Advice
See what customers recommend in addition to, or instead of, the product on this page.
Recommend an item!

1 person recommended I Married a Communist instead of Joined at the Heart

Posted by David Paglia at November 27, 2002 10:49 AM

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