Anybody, with the possible exception of yours truly, can write a book, or so it seems; we keep hearing these wondrous tales of prodigious success by authors who’ve never been mentioned in The New York Times.

But I remember my bell curves, and for every book that sells gazillions, there are probably several more like this one, which, says the author, has sold zero copies in two years.

This situation also prevails on the musical side: for example, in 2007 there were 13 million downloadable music tracks, and 10 million of them didn’t sell so much as a single copy.


  1. Francis W. Porretto »

    21 June 2013 · 4:53 am

    There a power law in effect here, much the same as the one that dictates that only about 0.000001% of bloggers will have five-digit readerships. In matters largely dependent on popular taste, popularity breeds popularity, and the inverse is true as well.

    “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.” — Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra

  2. McGehee »

    21 June 2013 · 9:31 am

    I looked at the description, and it actually dissuaded me from buying the book. Then it dissuaded me from reading more of the description. If the book’s author wrote the description, I may know why the book hasn’t sold.

  3. hatless in hattiesburg »

    21 June 2013 · 1:27 pm

    re: bell curve, power law, etc. —>

  4. Lynn »

    22 June 2013 · 4:13 pm

    The description actually made it sound slightly interesting but the “Look Inside” immediately turned me off. I feel sort of bad for the guy because I know if I ever wrote a book it would go the same way for me.

RSS feed for comments on this post