NEW YORK – “America: Imagine the World Without Her” author Dinesh D’Souza is claiming an underdog victory over retail giant Costco in a fight over sales of his book – just as the movie of the same name is appearing in theaters across the nation.
“David 1, Goliath 0,” he told WND on Thursday, as he released a video thanking consumers for supporting his projects and asking them to see the movie.
The controversy erupted when it was revealed this week that Costco was pulling the books from its shelves just as the movie was appearing – and the book was surging to No. 1 on Amazon.
The store chain had claimed that the book was being dropped because of poor sales, then reversed itself quickly, promising to restock its shelves.
But on Thursday Deanne Witt, assistant general merchandising manager for media for Costco, told WND in an email, “We have less that 20 locations with stock [copies of D’Souza’s book ‘America’] in hand. All of our warehouses will receive product by the end of next week.”
The email confirmed that despite Costco’s reversal of its decision to drop the book, and its announcement that it would restock, copies of D’Souza’s “America” probably won’t reach Costco stores during the opening weeks of the movie, which was launched July 2, the same day Costco originally issued a “pull order” to its stores.
Film industry experts understand the importance of opening box-office revenues in an industry where those revenues often constitute as much as 50 percent or more of top box-office feature films.
The numbers also play a role in expanding the locations that feature the “America” movie beyond the 1,100 theaters in which it opened.
Still, D’Souza claimed victory.
“Not only has the retail giant Costco reversed its decision to lift copies of my book ‘America’ off its shelves, but it has also called my publisher and ordered 25,000 new books,” D’Souza said.
“Costco now promises the book will be prominently displayed in every Costco around the country.”
D’Souza credited the victory to his friends and supporters around the country, acknowledging that many of them are Costco customers.
“You stormed Costco, you stormed their website, and some of you went to Costco and made your voice heard, outraged at what you perceived to be an act of censorship,” he said.
“You let them know that if they don’t change their minds, you will change your mind about Costco. What this shows is that the ordinary citizen armed with social media and armed with resolution can make an incredible difference. A giant corporation was made to do a U-turn and change its mind, willingly or unwillingly.”
D’Souza emphasized the importance of the book to explaining the intellectual underpinning of his movie by the same title.
“Our movie by the same title, ‘America,’ made $5 million last week, already putting it in the top 10 political documentaries of all time,” he said.
Emphasizing that the movie stands a chance of surpassing a number of Michael Moore’s movies soon, D’Souza stressed that seeing the movie, as well as buying the book, allows his supporters the opportunity to register their views publicly.
“If you really want to stick it to the left, I would urge you to round up a bunch of your friends, use your social media, take people to the film, and do it early,” he continued.
“That way, the people in Hollywood notice: they get the message, the film expands to even more theaters, and ordinary citizens, including independent people, get a chance to go and see
‘America’ and fall in love with America all over again.”
He said, “We are trying to fight the left on its own ground: not just in politics, but also in media, and also in education, and also in Hollywood. You are our partners in this struggle. You can help us, and with your help, we can make a real difference. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Regnery pulls out stops to resupply Costco
Marji Ross, president of Regnery, the Washington-based publisher of D’Souza’s book, “America,” confirmed to WND in an email that Costco placed an order for 15,000 books on Tuesday, followed by an increase in that order to 25,000 units that Costco posted with Regnery on Wednesday morning.
“Costco told us they want to distribute the book fully nationwide, in every Costco store,” Ross explained. “I am told Costco placed the order ‘manually’ with us so they could get the books faster than normal. We had 15,000 books in inventory. Those books are on trucks now going to Costco.”
Ross explained that the complications of an “antiquated supply model” common to the book industry make it difficult to know where books actually are at any exact time, a difficulty further complicated in that Costco orders books through the North Carolina-based book distributor Baker & Taylor, currently the world’s largest book distributor, using warehouses Baker & Taylor acquired from the now-bankrupt Advanced Marketing Services in San Diego, California.
To fill the 25,000-unit order, Regnery went to an immediate reprint, with the newly printed 10,000 books needed to fill the full order scheduled to ship to Costco next week.
Ross also admitted Regnery does not have a precise count of the number of books Costco stores had not yet returned after Costco issued the “pull order,” an order Costco rescinded after deciding the initial decision to stop selling D’Souza’s “America” was a mistake given the dramatic increase in sales of the book experienced after D’Souza’s documentary movie, “America,” opened.
“We know Costco tagged some 6,000 books for return to us that did not get back to us,” Ross said, acknowledging the difficulties of tracking inventory in a confusing week in which Costco reversed directions abruptly after WND broke the story of the pull order.
“We don’t know how many of these books actually left the shelves, how many got to Costco’s distribution centers, and how many are on their way back to Baker & Taylor,” she wrote. “We suspect some books are still on the Costco shelves, and sold so well this week that this helped alert Costco to their ‘mistake.'”
Ross also disclosed to WND that among the thousands of books Regnery is shipping this week to Costco, 4,000 of those books are autographed by D’Souza.
“In our desire to resupply and meet demand quickly, we tapped our reserve of autographed copies,” she noted.
“But we don’t know where those books went. They are moving out there … but we now have a ‘treasure hunt’ on over the next couple of weeks – 4,000 autographed copies are out there somewhere, for customers to buy! Like a golden ticket!”
The book was No. 43 on Amazon.com’s bestseller list when WND’s first story broke, shortly later sitting at the No. 1 spot overall.
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