AP book-man Hillel Italie checked in with Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating to see if the high sales rankings for the Goldman-approved edition of If I Did It on BN.com and Amazon.com had caused the chain to revisit its decision not to stock the book. “We have only had a handful of pre-orders in our stores,” was Keating’s official reply. “We are monitoring interest in the title, as we do with all recently published books. At this point, our decision remains.”
Time to break out the semantics parsing tools: How can a book get to #1 on the company’s website based on “a handful of pre-orders”? Could it be that B&N’s sales rankings are even more qualitatively meaningless than Amazon’s, so that “a handful of pre-orders” makes a book seem disproportionately popular? That’s certainly possible, but it’s more likely that the key phrase there is “in our stores”—in other words, yes, plenty of people might be ordering the book online, but hardly anybody’s going down to their local B&N, walking up to the information desk, and saying, “Hey, I want a copy of that OJ book when it comes out.” Which is perfectly obvious, but still all the wiggle room B&N needs.