Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sports tomes: Selena Roberts' swill not selling so swell

Ours is not to wonder why Selena Roberts' takedown book on Alex Rodríguez is selling worse than Brian Griffin's novel, Faster Than The Speed Of Love.
"Published in early May by HarperCollins with an announced first printing of 150,000, A-Rod has sold just 16,000 copies so far, according to Nielsen BookScan ... As of Wednesday afternoon, the book ranked No. 2,904 on, where even James Frey's discredited memoir A Million Little Pieces — at 1,776 — is outselling it."
Ah, what the hell, let's theorize with the aim of making sure that no matter what, it can't just be blamed on what a ShysterBall commenter panned as Roberts' "shallow, flash-in-the-pan 'journalism.' "

  1. Carrying around a book about Alex Rodríguez would be like carrying a Bear Stearns tote bag. There's such a profound sense of shame that everyone would just like to keep their distance.

  2. Even before the economic meltdown, sports publishing was a tough racket. Who's got $29.99 to shell out for a book which has largely been discredited? Sports bios also depend on how popular the athlete is and what kind of a season he's having. It could not have helped sales when Rodríguez was on the disabled list.

  3. A rule of thumb with sports publishing is a book needs something to sustain it once the holy-flurking-schnit factor runs its course. It's like the books José Canseco put out: Once you've got the dirt, what is there, really?
  4. Two other Yankees books hit the market first, Tom Verducci and Joe Torre's collaboration, The Yankees Years. A good friend has been sending MSN messages almost daily with some of the inside stuff in the Verducci book. Some of it, like the part about Roger Clemens having a trainer rub liniment on his testicles, has been excerpted, but there's a lot more beyond.
Bottom line, hearing that Roberts' book isn't selling stirs up schadenfreude. Oh well, she got her big advance.


Dennis Prouse said...

I deal with the media regularly in my job, and I find the overwhelming majority of them to be smart, honest, and professional. One consistent trait, though, is that they would sooner be boiled in oil than admit they were wrong. No matter how badly they gum up a story, they will doggedly stand by it. I suppose they believe that if they admit they were wrong, it will destroy their credibility. I see it the other way -- admit that you are human, and your credibility will actually increase.

In this case, the fact that Selena Roberts has so doggedly refused to apologize for the Duke lacrosse story has permanently stained her reputation. It's too bad, as I enjoy a lot of her pieces in SI. Had she simply bucked up and admitted she got it wrong, I'll bet she would have been forgiven, and the book would be doing a little better.

Liz said...

Does anyone think any of the apathy also stems from the subject matter? Bleh. Can't stand that guy. When people have so many sports books from which to choose (not to mention the incredible array of newspapers, magazines and online content), why choose one about a jerk? (My own opinion, obviously.)

Sportswriter (and blogger) Kyle Garlett has written a fun book on sports blunders, "What Were They Thinking? The Brainless Blunders that Changed Sports History" that would be a much better use of sports fans' time. Filled with fun stuff for both big fans and casual ones. Do you remember Disco Night at Comiskey Park? It's in there, as is the infamous "Heidi" move by NBC, plus many, many more. You get to find out what really happened.