Hmmm. . .


Last year, as many of my SFF Facebook friends (authors, for the most part) were calling for the Ender's Game boycott, I tried in vain to argue that this would give Card a lot of publicity and would be counterproductive in the long run. I was told in no uncertain terms that I was pretty much full of shit and should keep my mouth shut. . .

In retrospect, the movie, whether or not due to all the negative publicity, didn't generate as much money as Hollywood expected. Still, the domestic and foreign grosses add up to more than 125 million dollars, with a production budget of 110 million dollars. The books, however, are another matter.

Problem is, Orson Scott Card makes money from book royalties, not from the revenues of a film to which he sold the rights years ago. And as of today, the digital edition of Ender's Game has been a top 100 bestseller for 1512 consecutive days on Amazon. And the print edition has ranked quite high on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year, both in mass market paperback and in trade paperback editions. Essentially, it looks as though Ender's Game probably sold more units in the last couple of months than in the previous decade or so, making for a very lucrative year for the author.

Indeed, it appears that if you can't have the number 1 series on HBO to help generate book sales, the next best thing would be to be reviled as a homophobe by your peers. . . :/

So to all of you who called for the movie boycott and used every single social platform at your disposal to spread the word in the hope that it would hurt Orson Scott Card, I say, "Kudos for a job well-done. . ."

You know that old proverb: Hell is paved with good intentions? Case in point. . . :/

19 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

Maybe Card's sales would have been much higher without the other writers speaking out.

Patrick said...

Based on the movie alone??? I think not. We are talking about a Game of Thrones-esque increase in book sales for a film that pretty much tanked at the box office domestically.

No way. . .

Kate Kirby said...

See, the thing is, it's not a strategy to affect sales to me. It's much more than that.

I'm a lesbian woman. This man has written articles supporting laws making me a criminal, and calling for me to be exiled from the United States and held in a camp on foreign soil. (Not exaggeration; I've read the articles.)

And beyond that, he's on the board for NOM, a group that in addition to opposing gay marriage in the US, has supported and funded foreign bills such as the Ugandan law that makes being gay punishable by death. And being on the board means he's being paid to help their cause.

I find him 100% the moral equivalent of a Grand Wizard in the KKK. It is that level.

And this is America. You can support NOM. You can join the KKK. You can join the Nazi party. But if you do, people who you threaten aren't going to support you, and are going to let people know. And maybe some people aren't repulsed by the KKK, or the Nazis, or NOM, and keep buying. But that's a terrible reason to shut up about how these groups are not compatible with my morals.

Indeed, the fact that people push back when you talk about Card in a way they don't about, say, David Duke or Vox Dei, is the reason we do need to keep talking about him. He's a problem for our community. If we're not willing to be ashamed of him, I'm ashamed of us.

And I don't keep score in dollars. I keep score in gay couples being murdered, in laws foreign and domestic criminalizing people, in trans youth committing suicide, in bathroom beatings, in vile names being thrown about on a daily basis, in adoptions being denied, in partners being denied hospital visitations, in inheritances bitterly fought against the wishes of life-long couples. This is way too real for book sales.

I will never apologize for speaking up against him. I only regret not reaching more people, that this man does real harm to real lives.

Patrick said...

Just to clarify, I do not support Card's views of homosexuality.

I'm simply pointing out that the entire media outrage created by SFF people last year totally backfired and actually had the opposite effect. Instead of raising awareness regarding Card's stance and "hurting" the author's and the movie sales, the entire kerfuffle put ENDER'S GAME on top of bestseller lists. . .

It probably helps that we are talking about an award-winning work that has captured readers' imaginations for decades.

Al said...

In this case, there isn't enough data to tease out the boycott impact. Film demand is much greater than book demand. A $125 mm box office failure would be a mammoth book success. The rise in book sales could simply reflect a small percentage of movie watchers translated into book readers. But that minor percentage turnover could meaningfully impact book sales due to the difference in absolute market sizes.

Aidan Moher said...

1512 days? So, an online kerfuffle last year had the power to break the space-time continuum and place EG on bestseller lists from four years ago?

Patrick said...

Ah, Aidan, I should have expected your anal retentiveness. . . ;-)

If you must be a pedant, you should know that ENDER'S GAME has been hovering near the top of both the Amazon list and the NYT list since the call for the boycott began last year. Even before that, actually. It started when lots of people began to raise a fuss about the upcoming film adaptation, trying to raise awareness to the fact that OSC was a homophobe. Prior to that, though the digital edition might have been selling enough to maintain its position on Amazon's rankings, it never made it to the NYT list until the mud started to fly. . .

Still waiting for any meaningful contribution to any SFF discussions coming from you that doesn't have anything to do with cover art and color schemes... :P

Anonymous said...

I think you're wrong Pat. They did raise awareness that Card is a bigot. Readers simply don't care!

Ender's Game is a great book, a science fiction classic even. People want quality entertainment and Ender's Game provides just that.

People probably wouldn't go and have a beer with Card knowing what they know. But they'll keep reading his books, no question!

Xenophon said...

Unfortunately, this only strengthens the old adage "There is no such thing as bad publicity."

Personally, I always thought the original short story version of Ender's Game a more powerful piece of writing.

Blend said...

So basically you've resorted to saying "I told you so, nyah nyah nyah."

I lose respect for what used to be a great blog more and more each time you post this kind of trash.

Amen Kate Kirby for standing up for what is right. I agree with you wholeheartedly - I took a similar stance on Card, and was much more vocal about the same stance when it came to the Sochi Olympics. My personal boycott may not matter in the long run, but it sure as hell gives ME peace of mind.

No one thinks you're a supporter of Card's views on homosexuality, Pat, but posts like this make you seem like a child as far as I'm concerned.

Patrick said...

Blend,

My point is that is was counter-productive and allowed Card to make a LOT of money.

I haven't seen the movie, so I can't comment. But it appears that it wouldn't really have caught the fancy of the mainstream public. Which means that the movie, in and of itself, wouldn't have generated any important increase in book sales. A bit like Legeng of the Seeker did nothing to help Goodkind sell more books.

But the fact that so much was said about Card and that some of this crap made its way all the way up to mainstream media, well that essentially made it possible for ENDER'S GAME to return to the bestseller lists and remain there for about a year and continue to sell extremely well long after the call for the boycott has become meaningless.

In life, one needs to choose his or her battles carefully. The mud-slinging, though it allowed countless people to vent their frustration and depict Card as a bigot, came back to bite them in the ass.

I'm happy if it gives you and other people peace of mind. But the truth of the matter is that Card is laughing all the way to the bank right now. . . :/

Logan Thom said...

Hahaha Pat, stick to the 'extract' posts and 'inexpensive ebooks' - at least they don't contain any of your embarrassing bullshit. Maybe you could learn a thing or two from Aidan if you pulled your head from your ass and entered the real world.

RobB said...

I'm not really sure how much the boycotts and negative press had direct effect on the sales. As you indicate in one of your responses, it was hovering near the top of the bestseller lists "Even before that, actually."

ENDER'S GAME has been on summer reading lists for years, it is considered a landmark novel, it was/is on many reading list for years.

If anything, the boycotts may have nudged it up a bit, but to call them solely responsible might not be accurate.

Unknown said...

Card may be a bigot and generally holding political views I vehemently disagree with but the fact remains that "Ender's Game" is a very engrossing book. If I would only enjoy the work of artists I share political views I would probably miss out on a lot not to mention my own views would never get challenged.

Unknown said...

Fuck Card and his homophobic beliefs, but Ender's Game was and continues to be my favorite SF book ever written, since long before he came out of the closet, so to speak.

I saw the film in the theaters, and it was everything I hoped it could be. I paid for tickets for myself, my wife, and all my kids. I bought the dvd. Being a book collector I've paid for several editions of the book and would happily pay more if a deluxe special signed edition were to come out.

I, for one, can separate the man from the art, especially one so old and free from his personal bigotries.

And I'll be first in line if they ever film Speaker. Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Everybody knows box office isn't the only measure of a movie's success: you also can't discount home video/Netflix et. al.

The movie probably found its modest public, which is more than enough to generate greater sales, as the number of people who watch movies is so much greater than the number of people who buy/read books.

C.B.

Patrick said...

Rob,

I feel they were the catalyst, the ones that got the ball rolling. And once the ball was rolling, word of mouth alone could keep ENDER'S GAME selling well for quite some time. I mean, given its performance on the NYT list, the book is moving thousands of copies every week.

Which means that the mainstream public is now buying those books in bulk, something that may not have happened had the boycott not reached mainstream media.

To give you an exemple, the movie World War Z helped Brooks sell a lot of novels until it hit the screen and then the novel soon disappeared from the bestseller lists following the harsh critics directed at the movie. And we are talking about a film that whose domestic and foreign grosses amount to more than 540 million dollars. Indeed, World War Z made about as much as Ender's Game has generated domestically thus far during its opening weekend. How could that not generate an enormous increase in book sales?

I think that mud-slinging Card the way they did sort of brought the author to the attention of a lot of people who wouldn't have heard about him otherwise. Then, if intrigued, they googled ENDER'S GAME and discovered that it's an award-winning seminal science fiction work, it's not unreasonable to think that a number of them decided to give the book a shot.

And the thing about a work like ENDER'S GAME is that it's a superior tale which has remained in print for nearly 30 years. The author may be a bigot (that is not in question), but the book itself will appeal to a vast public of all ages. So the more people start to read it, the more they'll talk about it and encourage friends and relatives to read it, and then things snowball and all of a sudden you have this books that becomes one of the bestselling genre titles of the last year or so. . .

So whether or not it was a strong or moderate influence behind this incredible increase in sales, in the end it was totally counter-productive to their objective.

That's all I'm saying. . .

Anonymous said...

Gays and lesbians. The new thought police.

Anonymous said...

Going through your older posts, I have seen you advertising his books more than once on your blog recently, which makes this comment kind of strange....