A day before its official release, Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner's book has shot up to No. 8 on Amazon.com's bestseller list, up more than 256,000 spots from its ranking last week.
Apparently the book -- which chronicles Poizner's time teaching at a San Jose high school -- even hit No. 2 on the charts this week, second only to Michael Lewis' "The Big Short."
So what gives with all the interest? We're not sure, but Jack Chang over at the Sacramento Bee theorizes that it might have something to do with all the promotional copies being sent out. Apparently the Bee's Capitol bureau received at least four.
Chang also pointed out an article that suggests that savvy authors know how to juke their stats, as Amazon's SalesRank system appears to favor momentum over gross sales volume. Author Timothy Fish explained it this way in a blog post in 2007:
The best way to understand sales rank is as a method of estimating the popularity of unpopular items. No one is surprised if the books listed on the New York Times bestseller list appear with low sales rank numbers in an order similar to their listing in the Times. That is to be expected, but Amazon.com makes its money by selling books that no one else sells.
The reason no one else sells them is because they can’t sell enough of them to pay for stocking the book. Some of the books that Amazon.com sells will not sell for several months. Some may not sell for years. It would be impossible to rank every book if they were ranked by how many were sold within a certain period. Instead a dynamic system is used that can be updated as books are sold.
The high sales volume might be good news for Poizner and the students at Mount Pleasant High School, who are receiving all proceeds from the books sales (even if some at the school aren't happy about what Poizner had to say). But they also seem to be pushing some business toward Poizner's GOP rival, Meg Whitman, who released her own book in January.
Nearly one in three people who came to Amazon looking for Poizner's book walked away with Whitman's:
"The Power of Many" was recently sitting at No. 36,134 on the Amazon charts.