In a previous post I dealt with the question of How Books Sell, and tried to explain that trade books that make it big, if they make it big, do so by receiving substantial media attention. When Reza Aslan had that immortal (not to say immoral) interview on FOX, it sealed the deal. His book went up to #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list – every author’s dream. Without the interview, it wouldn’t have happened.
In this post I want to deal with a correlative question that may have been on precisely no one’s mind: Why Sell Books? Well, it’s on my mind, anyway. And it’s on my mind because invariably when a scholar publishes a book for a popular audience, his/her colleagues (some of them) in the field get all sniffy and huffy about it. What you often hear them say (when they don’t know you’re listening) is: “Oh, he just wants to sell books!”