Gawker.com, along with its parent company Gawker Media and well-known overlord Nick Denton, might be a big deal around Gotham--so big, in fact that it merits New York magazine cover stories. But that doesn't mean the gossip blog is guaranteed a smooth entry into the world of print publishing that it so frequently skewers.
Portfolio blogger Jeff Berkovici dug up some Nielsen BookScan statistics that seem to indicate that The Gawker Guide to Conquering All Media, a glossy hardcover that was published last month, has sold only a few hundred copies. 242 copies, to be exact, though Berkovici noted that the actual number is likely a bit higher. "Still," he wrote, it's probably somewhat fewer copies than Simon & Schuster's Atria division was hoping to sell when it acquired the total in what I'm told was a $250,000 deal." A headline on Drudge Report linking to the Portfolio post read "WE'RE GAWKER; AND WE'RE LAME: BOOK ON 'CONQUERING MEDIA' SELLS 242 COPIES."
(It should be noted that Berkovici's employer is one of Gawker's favorite targets of ridicule, so the post quite likely veiled a gleeful attitude of "Gotcha, suckers!")
Reception of the book hasn't been great, but they haven't been terrible either. The seven customer reviews on Amazon.com average out to three and a half out of five stars. If anything, this is an indicator that blog-into-book titles, despite their obvious outlet of free publicity, just aren't an instant sell--the blog's free, and updated every day, so why pay money for a book that'll gather dust?
It'll be interesting to see how the numbers are for the just-released Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, which is based on the popular Fake Steve Jobs blog by Forbes editor Daniel Lyons. Reviews have been mixed; my colleague Tom Krazit called it "funny, but optional" and I still think he was being way too nice.