The first half of this story leads the reader to imagine that Conservative books are hurting in the market with all the negative quotes employed about their future. Naturally, after that first half about how dismal the future for conservative books is, the story then takes a turn to praise liberal books, showing how "energized" they are, after which the story broadens into a piece about the entire BookExpo America gathering.
When done reading the report, you realize that, despite the story's title, it isn't just about how bad the conservative book market is, but, instead, it is a story on the whole of the BookExpo America trade show. Why, exactly, is this titled the way it is, then, if it isn't just about how bad the conservative market is?
I'm sure you can answer that with a knowing nod... it's because it is a story saying that conservatism is somehow in trouble, that's why.
So, in the first half we get tales of woe from "right-wing" book publishers and smiles from the liberals. It is quickly noticed, too, that the liberals are merely called liberals while the conservatives are called a more visceral "right-wing".
Also, upon reflection, it becomes obvious that the conservative publishers aren't saying that they have no future but that the past influx of high energy conservative causes is currently cooled, so they are but wondering what the new trends will be.
And buried at the bottom half of the story we can see the reason that sales may not seem as strong.
The aisles were packed at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, and the books ever plentiful. New releases topped 290,000 in 2006, according to statisticians R.R. Bowker, which, thanks to revised methodology, added a bountiful 100,000 titles to its previous estimates. "We put out more than 1,000 new titles a week, and that's still a tiny percentage of how many books are being published," said George Jones, CEO of the superstore chain Borders Group, Inc.With so many hundreds of thousands of books it is no wonder that break out titles are far and few between! It's also no wonder that high profile writers like Ann Coulter are the only ones that can move large amounts of product.
Anyway, this story full of alarm ends up being a ho hum upon reflection. The news of the death of conservative books seems to be greatly exaggerated.
Update 12:13 | Matthew Sheffield. This headline and the lede paragraphs are really quite facile. The reason that conservative books haven't sold as well is because political polemics always sell better when there is someone to attack of prominence. The same trend holds in the political magazine marketplace. During the Clinton years, the conservative mags had huge circulation numbers. Once Bush came into power, their numbers dropped and the liberal mags rose accordingly.
People like to be informed about what "the bad guys" are up to which is why conservative books haven't seen the kinds of numbers that they used to. A reporter who covers the book business such as Hillel Italie ought to be familiar with such a fundamental concept.