WASHINGTON DC (PNN): Addressing the striking imbalance in the nation’s non-fiction political book sales was the order of business on Capitol Hill today as Democrats crafted legislation to level the wildly uneven playing field between conservative and liberal book sales.
With the non-fiction political book market completely dominated by conservatives such as Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin and Michelle Malkin, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) has proposed sweeping legislation that will allow liberal books to compete in a marketplace that is unfair to liberal authors due to the disparate nature of conservative vs. liberal book consumers.
According to a statement on Rep. Frank’s website, “My bill will provide public funds to those who may want books by liberal authors, but who don’t buy them because they believe that reading is a basic human right and as such should be provided by government at either low cost or free of charge.”
Rebecca Engersol, a literary sociologist at the University of Chicago, explains: “Simply put, books written by Democrats usually do worse in terms of sales than those written by right-wing authors because Republicans tend to believe in paying for the things they want with their own money. As a result, right-leaning authors have a far easier time selling books than left-leaning authors, whose target audience tends to be more transient or ‘freeloader’ types. If no government program is put into place to correct this disparity, the injustice will only intensify as Sarah Palin’s book nears its release date.”
Engersol claims that even if the bill passes, it could take liberal authors a while to feel the relief. “We’re talking about a wide success gap between the two sides here. For example, Nancy Pelosi’s book sold about as well as pork rinds in Teheran, while Sarah Palin’s forthcoming book is expected to sell at least a couple million copies. A liberal book economy that is oppressed in this manner by the conservative culture’s abject willingness to spend their own money for the things they want and a selfish need to be entertained and enlightened by what they read will take time for the government to force the free market to correct.”
Speaking to a reporter from the New York Times, Frank further justified his stimulus bill. “The purchasing habits of American book-buyers would suggest that they do not like to read books in which their country and its history is dragged through the mud, and this is inherently unfair to the liberal author,” said Frank. “We intend to correct that.”
Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) suggested that taxpayer money would be saved if liberal authors would simply write the books for free, and liberal publishing houses would distribute them for free. This prompted Air America host Randy Robertson, author of “If We All Worked For Free, There Would Be No Greed,” to retort on his program. “How the hell would I pay for my heat and groceries if I did that? This is further proof that Republicans are incredibly out of touch with working-class America.”
Frank’s office says the liberal book sales stimulus bill would be paid for by an additional tax on right-leaning books that Frank says built their success on the spines of left-leaning books.
Government watchdog groups say that the timing of Frank’s bill is suspect, as Frank has a book scheduled for release early in 2010.