ECW Press issued the following press release this afternoon:

Recent Newsletter and online reports on wrestling-related book sales figures

While interesting, recent reports on wrestling-related book sales figures have contained inaccuracies that make them misleading. Reporting Bookscan’s weekly sales figures is a fine attempt at countering the idea that Amazon’s ranking system gives a true sense of how books are doing (it doesn’t), but those numbers also need interpretation and clarification.

Unfortunately, there were real factual errors, and one perceptual error in what follows, a “news” item that’s been reprinted a number of times in the past few days. (Here’s a copy of what’s been written, with the problem-areas highlighted:

“Outside of WWE’s publishing, sales haven’t been strong anywhere. “Vince Russo: Forgiven” (released November 2005, at least couple years too late) sold only 1,145 copies. “Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of ECW” (released March 2006) sold 2,615 copies. “The Cowboy and The Cross: The Bill Watts Story” (released January 2006) had sold only 929 copies. As for the very latest non-WWE releases, “World Wrestling Insanity” (released May 28) sold 537 copies in its first two weeks, behind “Mysteries of Wrestling Solved” (released June 6) with first week sales of 1,367. The weakest seller this year is “Bang Your Head: The Real Story of The Missing Link” (released April 1, 2006) with sales of 78 (yes, less than 100).”

First, these figures appear to be based on the Bookscan sell-through numbers for America. Bookscan is a sales tracking service that ties directly into a good number, but not all of the bookstores in the US. Their accuracy is anywhere between 60 and 85%–by their own admission. For wrestling-related titles it’s more in the 60% range. Many online retailers, folks like, are typically not accounted for.

Second, publishers like Sports Publishing and, certainly, ECW would argue that sales of Hardcore History and World Wrestling Insanity have been very strong–stronger perhaps than for any of our other titles. At the same time, for both of these presses to compete with two major WWE/Simon&Schuster titles, with all the WWE’s marketing power, in the same two-week period (see accurate figures below) is something pretty remarkable.

Third, and no matter how much I wish this wasn’t true, Mysteries of Wrestling: Solved did not sell 1,367 copies in its first week. That figure is now 1388 Bookscan-tracked copies for the life of the book, since June of 2005.

The Cowboy and the Cross, Bill Watts’ book has now sold 1031 copies according to Bookscan, but it became available at the beginning of March 2006–not in January of 06.

The Missing Link’s book has sold 172 Bookscan-tracked copies since it was released on May 28th (not April 1st).

For what it’s worth–and remember, as much as 40% of the sales of these titles may not have been recorded in these figures–here’s the Bookscan Accounting for 10 of the best-selling wrestling-related titles for the two-week period ending June 18, 2006 (the number of copies reported sold since June 4, 2006):

The Rise and Fall of ECW by Thom Loverro (WWE Books): 1731 copies
Cheating Death, Stealing Life by Eddie Guerrero (WWE Books): 476 copies
Heartbreak and Triumph by Shawn Michaels (WWE Books): 408 copies
World Wrestling Insanity by James Guttman (ECW Press): 378 copies
Hardcore History by Scott Williams (Sports Publishing): 345 copies
Ric Flair: To Be the Man (WWE Books): 181 copies
The Death of WCW by R.D. Reynolds (ECW Press): 180 copies
Superstar Billy Graham (WWE Books): 116 copies
Bang Your Head by Dewey “This Missing Link” Robertson and Meredith Renwick (ECW Press): 94 copies
Terry Funk: The Hardcore Legend (Sports Publishing): 47 copies


Michael Holmes

ECW Press
Michael Holmes, Editor