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#1 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 01:03 AM

PARC Facts

This thread is about The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics by James Valliant, which has been widely discussed by a relatively few number of people on the Internet. This is a “research” thread, so in keeping with the spirit of OL, it will be locked against discussion. If a reader has something he/she wishes to add or correct, please contact me at mikellyusabr@yahoo.com.

The reason for this policy is that I wish to gather the maximum number of facts in a single place for easy consultation. The discussions tend to get long-winded, several passing 300 posts by far and one even going up to well over 500 posts, thus it is hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Also, in some of these discussions, a small number of posters have become highly insulting about the Brandens and this is not tolerated on OL.

The most basic fact will be given in this post, which is bibliographical, then a list of links to online reviews, outlines and information on the publisher. Factual mistakes like dates and such may be included in this list. This thread will be updated periodically.

The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics:  The Case Against the Brandens
Written by James S. Valliant
Dallas, Texas:  Durban House, 2005
xii + 433, index
Copyright 2005
Library of Congress Control Number: 2004115671
ISBN: 1-930654-67-1
For some reason there is a second (newer) ISBN number for the hard cover book: 1-930754-67-1


Michael

#2 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 02:50 AM

PARC Reviews and Commentary

I am not including interviews with Valliant, merely third-party reviews and commentaries, although he is present in many of the online discussions.



Blatantly Against

“So Here It Is, Ayn Rand on Nathaniel Branden, Circa 1968” – “Plumbing the depths of the soap opera with a fine-tooth partisan comb,” by David Brown. Review, April 22, 2005 (International Society for Individual Liberty – Book Beat).

“The Passion of the Critics of Ayn Rand's Critics” by Scott Schiff. Review, May 24, 2005. Discussion. (Former SoloHQ now at RoR)
Solo Passion SoloHQ archives: Article and Discussion.

“How to Kill a Philosophy-A Review of The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics” by Dennis Hardin. Review and discussion, June 29, 2005. (Former SoloHQ now at RoR.)
Solo Passion SoloHQ archives: Review and discussion.

“The Only Review of PARC You Ever Need to Read” by Roger Bissell. Review, February 18, 2006. (Objectivist Living)

The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics - One Man's View by Jordan Zimmerman. Review (link to database), Apr 27, 2006. (Objectivist Living)



More Detached, with Reservations

“REASON, PASSION, AND HISTORY” by Chris Matthew Sciabarra. Review, July 20, 2005. Discussion (including long rebuttal by Valliant and final rejoinder by Sciabarra). (Notablog)

“The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics: The Case Against the Brandens” by Wendy McElroy. Review, June 22, 2005. (LewRockwell.com)

“Ayn Rand? Jealous?” by Robert Campbell. – Commentary, November 22, 2005. Discussion. (Former SoloHQ now at RoR)
Solo Passion SoloHQ archives: Article and Discussion.

“Valliant Versus the Brandens” by Fred Seddon. Commentary, November 25, 2005. Discussion. (Former SoloHQ now at RoR)
Solo Passion SoloHQ archives: Article and Discussion.



Blatantly For

“The Vindication of Ayn Rand” by Cass Hewitt. Review, March 11, 2005. Discussion. (The Autonomist)
The same article on The Free Republic (with discussion)

“Hold Your Horses!” by Casey Fahy. Commentary, pre-release, April 6, 2005. Discussion. (Former SoloHQ now at RoR)
Solo Passion SoloHQ archives: Article and Discussion.

“Book Review: The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics by James S.Valliant.” by Tom Minchin. Review, June 3, 2005. (The Intellectual Activist Forum)
(Note from MSK: This was on The Intellectual Activist forum with follow-up discussion, but the forum has been deactivated. The link has bee provided, but it no longer works. The review can be seen almost exactly word-for-word on THE FORUM for Ayn Rand Fans – Post 167, June 4, 2005 – but the TIA discussion is no longer available.)

“The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics” by Diana Hsieh. Commentary, June 5, 2005. Discussion. (Noodlefood)

“Book Semi-Review: The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics” by “Mike.” Commentary, June 10, 2005. (Passing Thoughts Blog)

“The Passion of the Critics of Ayn Rand's Critics” by Lindsay Perigo. Review, September 26, 2005. Discussion. (Former SoloHQ now at RoR)
Solo Passion SoloHQ archives: Article and Discussion.

“Is Ayn Rand Optional?” by Don Watkins. Commentary, October 12, 2005. Discussion. (Noodlefood)

“The Silence of Ayn Rand’s Critics” by Casey Fahy. Commentary, December 3, 2005. (Solo Passion – Discussion included in link and also published in The Free Radical, No. 69.)

“A Review of The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics” by Diana Hsieh. Commentary, January 20, 2006. Discussion. (Noodlefood)

“Interviews with the Vampires” by Diana Hsieh. Commentary, January 22, 2006. Discussion. (Noodlefood)

“Betraying the self. Betraying a heroine.” by Peter Cresswell. Commentary, February 1, 2006. (Solo Passion – Discussion included in link and also published in The Free Radical, No. 70.)
(Note from MSK: This is probably the most bizarre of all of the spiteful writings involving PARC, speculating that the Brandens were the reason Ayn Rand never wrote another novel after Atlas Shrugged.)

“The Nature of Poison” by Casey Fahy. Commentary, February 21, 2006. (Solo Passion – Discussion included in link.)



Other Online Discussions Strongly Involving PARC and/or Valliant

New Book: The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics – News item, posted February 8, 2005. Discussion. (Former SoloHQ now at RoR)
Solo Passion SoloHQ archives: News Item and Discussion.

Amazon Customer Reviews of The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics – First review on March 9, 2005.

The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics, New Book – Thread on THE FORUM for Ayn Rand Fans, Values – Current Events, started May 16, 2005.

Wendy McElroy on Nate, Babs, and Ayn. – Thread on SoloHQ, General Forum, started June 22, 2005. (Former SoloHQ now at RoR)
Solo Passion SoloHQ archives: Thread.

Ayn Rand Smeared Again – Thread on SoloHQ, General Forum, started September 7, 2005. (Former SoloHQ now at RoR)
Solo Passion SoloHQ archives: Thread.

Jungian Objectivism Suspended – Thread on SoloHQ, General Forum, started September 24, 2005. (Former SoloHQ now at RoR)
Solo Passion SoloHQ archives: Thread.

The Argument from Intimidation – Thread on SoloHQ, General Forum, started October 22, 2005. (Former SoloHQ now at RoR)
Solo Passion SoloHQ archives: Thread.
(Note from MSK: This particular thread has the most comical pronouncement issued as argument I have ever encountered by an Objectivist discussion site owner: "And Michael, just for once, shut the fuck up..." - Post 158 by Perigo.)

Ayn Rand Biography Recommendations – Thread on SoloHQ, Objectivism Q&A, started November 26, 2005. (Former SoloHQ now at RoR)
Solo Passion SoloHQ archives: Thread.

Of Firsts, Silence, and Truth - Article by Reginald Firehammer with discussion thread on The Autonomist, December 2, 2005. Just The Autonomist article here, and repeated here on The Rational Argumentator.

Provocative Post! – Thread on Solo Passion, General Forum, started December 10, 2005.

Why do some people hate the Brandens? – Thread on Solo Passion, General Forum, started December 16, 2005.

Linz Bows Out Of TOC Summer Seminar – Thread on Solo Passion, Lindsay Perigo's blog, posted February 15, 2006.

My History with Nathaniel and Barbara Branden – commentary by Diana Hsieh, March 22, 2006. Discussion. (Noodlefood)

Important!!! – Thread on Solo Passion, Lindsay Perigo's blog, posted March 22, 2006. (Note from MSK: The purpose of the thread was to call attention to Hsieh's mini-biography of the same day, but very little about the subject was discussed. It is predominantly bickering between the posters as of March 27.)

Frank's Drinking - Thread on Solo Passion started by Brant Gaede on March 22, 2006. A rather insipid non-discussion follows (stopped and resumed a couple of times, but still insipid).

CRAP – Thread on Solo Passion, Brant Gaede's blog, posted March 24, 2006.

Barbara Branden and TOC - Thread on Solo Passion started by Bill Perry on April 6, 2006.

Is This What They Teach at the Ayn Rand Institute? - Thread on Solo Passion started by Robert Campbell on April 6, 2006. PARC is addressed in several posts within the context of ARI, true-believer mentality and JARS.

Meeting Nathaniel Branden - Thread on Solo Passion started by Bill Perry on April 12, 2006. Although PARC is not addressed directly, so many of the issues raised in it are that this thread is pertinent.

A Prosecutor's View of PARC - Thread on Solo Passion started by Bill Perry on April 20, 2006.

The Whole Sordid Affair - Thread on Solo Passion started by Kelly Elmore on May 28, 2006, apparently at the request of Perigo ("Linz asked me to post something...").

A Final Request – commentary by Diana Hsieh, July 6, 2006. Discussion. (Noodlefood) The same initial post was published on Solo Passion on July 7, 2006 under the title of "A Request about PARC."

James Valliant on Rand and the Remington Rand Typewriter Story - Entry by Neil Parille on his blog, ObjectiBlog: Ayn Rand and Objectivism, on July 23, 2006. Reposted on Solo Passion with discussion on July 26, 2006.

James Valliant on Rand's Intellectual Debts - Entry by Neil Parille on his blog, ObjectiBlog: Ayn Rand and Objectivism, on July 23, 2006.

James Valliant on Murray Rothbard - Entry by Neil Parille on his blog, ObjectiBlog: Ayn Rand and Objectivism, on July 24, 2006.

James Valliant on Henry Holzer - Entry by Neil Parille on his blog, ObjectiBlog: Ayn Rand and Objectivism, on July 26, 2006.

James Valliant on We the Living - Entry by Neil Parille on his blog, ObjectiBlog: Ayn Rand and Objectivism, on July 27, 2006.

James Valliant on the Brandens - Entry by Neil Parille on his blog, ObjectiBlog: Ayn Rand and Objectivism, on July 28, 2006.

James Valliant on the Passion of Ayn Rand - Entry by Neil Parille on his blog, ObjectiBlog: Ayn Rand and Objectivism, on August 6, 2006. Reposted on Solo Passion with discussion on August 20, 2006.

James Valliant on Ayn Rand, John Hospers and the Brandens - Entry by Neil Parille on his blog, ObjectiBlog: Ayn Rand and Objectivism, on August 6, 2006. Reposted on Solo Passion with discussion on August 26, 2006.

On Breaking With Rand - Entry by Neil Parille on his blog, ObjectiBlog: Ayn Rand and Objectivism, on August 6, 2006.

Unusual Behavior as a Clue to What Happens Inside the Black Box - Thread on Solo Passion started by Robert Campbell on August 11, 2006 (many comments about PARC in the middle of the discussion).

James Valliant on Ayn Rand and the Blumenthals - Entry by Neil Parille on his blog, ObjectiBlog: Ayn Rand and Objectivism, on August 12, 2006. Reposted on Solo Passion with discussion on August 13, 2006.

$26 for to ask Nathaniel Branden a question on PARC? - Thread on Solo Passion started by Kevin Malone on August 17, 2006 (not much discussion).

Lindsay and his "take" on Zionism/Israel. - Thread on Solo Passion started by Kevin Malone on August 21, 2006 (long discussion going over 500 posts and despite originally dealing with another subject, this discussion became diverted and changed to PARC by none other than Valliant himself on September 1, 2006 - with many challenging posts following between George H. Smith and Valliant and his supporters).

PARC -- Impressions So Far - Thread on Solo Passion started by Chris Cathcart on August 23, 2006.

How Many Copies Has Mr. Valliant's Book Sold? - Thread on Solo Passion started by Robert Campbell on August 27, 2006 (lots of reasons are given to justify the low sales).

Ayn Rand Archives - Thread on Solo Passion started by Diana Hsieh on September 3, 2006 (medium-long discussion going well over 150 posts and despite originally dealing with another subject, this discussion became diverted and changed to PARC by a supporter on September 4, 2006 - with many challenging posts following between George H. Smith and Valliant and his supporters).

Quick book notes re PARC and ARA - Thread on Solo Passion started by Chris Cathcart on September 5, 2006 (not much discussion).

The Virtue of Sycophancy (1) - Entry by Daniel Barnes on September 9, 2006 on his blog, Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature (blog with Greg Nyquist's book as theme).

The Virtue of Sycophancy (2) - Entry by Daniel Barnes on September 10, 2006 on his blog, Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature (blog with Greg Nyquist's book as theme).

The Virtue of Sycophancy (3) - Cringe and Win! - Entry by Daniel Barnes on September 10, 2006 on his blog, Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature (blog with Greg Nyquist's book as theme).

James Valliant on Ayn Rand, Barbara Branden and Libertarianism - Thread on Solo Passion started by Neil Parille on September 15, 2006. Reposted on his blog on September 16, 2006.

Cringe and Win! - The 5 Most Embarrassing Moments in "PARC" - Entry by Daniel Barnes on October 20, 2006 on his blog, Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature (blog with Greg Nyquist's book as theme).



Polls and Surveys

Have you read The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics? - Poll on Rebirth of Reason posted by Adam Buker. First comment on May 24, 2006.

Comparative Objectivist book sales against The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics by James Valliant - Survey of Objectivist books sold in 2005 and 2006 by Michael Stuart Kelly. Posted on August 26, 2006.

#3 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 03:18 AM

PARC Outline

The main divisions of the book:

Table of Contents

Introduction (1)

Part One: Biography and Myth (9)

I. Less Than Zero (9)
II. Rand and Non-Rand, at the Same Time and in the Same Respect (15)
III. Mullah Rand? (53)
IV. The Exploiters and the Exploited (87)
V. Something Between Them He Didn't Understand (128)
VI. School or Cult?(170)

Part Two: Documenting the Rape of Innocence (191)

Footnotes (387)
References (415)
About the Author (425)
Index (427)

(433 pages total.)


The dates and page numbers of Rand’s journal entries are given in a post by Michael Stuart Kelly: Objectivist Living, Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:05 am.

The first part of PARC runs from pp. 1-191. This is commentary.

The second half starts with a list of 10 criticisms of the Brandens' accounts interspersed with quotes from the journal entries in no particular order. These Rand quotes are used to illustrate the point being discussed. They are usually one or two paragraphs in length. This goes from p. 191-237, however actual Rand quotes are from pp. 195-236.

Then 20 excerpts are presented in the order given below. A very high amount of the text is commentary inserted at will, not Rand's excerpts. The July 1968 excerpts have much less commentary. (I start and finish the page numbers with inclusion of the commentary, as it sometimes starts or ends a page or more without Rand's words.)

November 27, 1967 - pp. 237-264
January 28, 1968 - pp. 265-275
January 30, 1968 - pp. 275-284
February 6, 1968 - pp. 284-287
February 10, 1968 - p. 286 (inserted in the section above)
February 14, 1968 - pp. 287-292
February 15, 1968 - p. 292
February 17, 1968 - pp. 292-293
February 18, 1968 - pp. 293-295
February 20, 1968 - pp. 295-298
May 15, 1968 - pp. 298-303
July 1, 1968 - pp. 304-308
July 2, 1968 - pp. 308-309
July 3, 1968 - pp. 309-311
July 4, 1968 - pp. 311-350
July 8, 1968 - pp. 350-366
July 12, 1968 - pp. 367-371 (separate excerpt)
July 12, 1968 - pp. 371-372 (separate excerpt)
July 12, 1968 - pp. 372-375 (separate excerpt)
July 13, 1968 - pp. 375-378

The rest of the book proper is commentary running to p. 385 (with this last page also including a couple of paragraphs written by Rand from an article in The Objectivist). There follow Footnotes, References, About the Author, and Index, all running to p. 433.


More information on Rand’s journal entries is given in a post by Ellen Stuttle: Objectivist Living, Wed Feb 22, 2006 11:57 am.

I'll add to Michael's post giving the page-number breakdown of PARC that from the page on which -- i.e., pg. 237 -- Valliant starts quoting the Journal entries in consecutive order, it's easy to find her words extracted from his (except for some interpretive bold-faced insertions) because her words are indented.  Thus, I just read the indented parts, skipping his margin-to-margin-type-style inserts.

(…)

I draw people's attention to a chronological issue which MSK's summary makes clear:  her entire set of entries comprises less than 8 months -- 11/27/67 to 7/13/68 -- nearing the break with Nathaniel (and BB, though there's no discussion of the reasons why AR ended up breaking with Barbara as well).


From “Part Two: Documenting the Rape of Innocence” on, there are no more chapter names, merely little signs in the middle of the page separating the end of one section and the beginning of the next, and there are many such sections. At the beginning of Part Two, up to p. 215, the ten core “oversights” are presented and the four categories of Rand’s 1967-1968 journal entries that were excluded from PARC.

This was once presented by Michael Stuart Kelly in Post 265, October 21, 2005 on a discussion thread to “The Passion of the Critics of Ayn Rand's Critics” (former SoloHQ now RoR)
Solo Passion SoloHQ archives: Post 265.

It is divided into an introduction, ten examples of what Valliant calls "oversights" (scare quotes and all) in the Branden accounts that are filled in and/or contradicted by Rand's journal entries, then some editorial comments at the end. For the record, here is a list of the oversights:

1 - That Rand would have not accepted an end to the affair and a change to a Platonic relationship (Valliant argues that she had already accepted the end well before the break);

2 - That Rand was unrealistic about her appraisal of the age difference (Valliant argues that she was acutely aware of the difference and repeatedly offered it as an "out" to Nathaniel);

3 - That Rand felt jealousy and her possible reaction based on being a woman scorned presented a sensitive issue in the last five months before the break (Valliant argues that Rand's actual concern was with understanding Branden, with hardly any jealousy whatsoever, even to the point of suggesting an affair with a younger woman, but in Rand's words "provided I did not have to meet her or associate with her");

4 - That Rand had a highly negative opinion of Patrecia (Valliant argues that Branden himself was one of the main sources of the negative information on Patrecia);

5 - That Nathaniel Branden had given the impression of providing a "warts and all" memoir as regards his own psychology (Valliant argues that he left out several key aspects, especially the ones that impacted on his affair with Rand);

6 - That the Brandens mentioned that Nathaniel was having therapy with Rand about his psycho-epistemology, but did not mention what was covered (Valliant argues that the therapy was to string Rand along and convince her that his marriage to Barbara was the issue and possibly salvageable and that this went on into 1968, when both Brandens later admitted in their own works that the marriage was over in 1966, or even 1965);

7 - That Nathaniel believed and stated that the outcome of his termination with Rand would have been the same irrespective of any other consideration because of his romantic rejection of her (Valliant argues that the business relationship would have continued);

8 - That the Brandens are vague about what caused the truth about the deception to be confessed (Valliant argues that Rand's incessant questioning of Nathaniel was the actual cause);

9 - That the Brandens repeatedly suggested that Rand was a rationalist about love and engaged in emotional repression (Valliant argues that the Brandens were rationalists and engaged in emotional repression, in addition to moral failures); and  

10 - That Rand was quick to make negative moral judgments (Valliant argues that Branden merely attributes to Rand his own harsh moral judgments of himself, ones which Rand ultimately came to reluctantly).

Then there is a list of the four categories of material from Rand's journals that were excluded from publication:
1 - Entries that alluded to people other than Nathaniel, Barbara or Patrecia;
2 - Repetitive material;
3 - Brief, cryptic notes where the meaning is not discernible; and
4 - The June 5, 1968 entries given to Barbara (which were later sold) and entries from mid-July to mid-August 1968, as they were deemed repetitive.



#4 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 06:04 PM

There is a rather curious saga surrounding Durban House, the publisher of PARC.

Durban House Publishing Company, Inc.
7502 Greenville Avenue, Suite 500
Dallas Texas 75231
http://www.durbanhouse.com/

It's reputation is that of a subsidy publisher, where authors subsidize part of the manufacture and promotion costs of their book. (A vanity press is one where authors subsidize all of the costs and, apparently, Durban House is not and never was a vanity press.)

I researched Durban House a while back on the Internet and posted my findings on SoloHQ on September 9, 2005. (Repeated on SoloP.)

This was because on the same day I had posted the following information on Durban being excluded from the 2006 Writer's Market. (Repeated on SoloP.) The Writer's Market excerpt is given below:

One indicator of the health of a publisher is its inclusion in the Writer's Market, published by Writer's Digest Books. Durban House was included in the 2005 edition, but the 2006 edition is now on the market and I bought it. I did not find Durban listed, so I looked at the back - the General Index. There I found the following entry (p. 1147):

Durban House Publishing Co. (ED)



When I looked up what "ED" meant at the head of the General Index (p. 1135), I found the following:

This index lists every market appearing in the book; use it to find companies you wish to approach. Markets that appeared in the 2005 edition of Writer's Market, but are not included in this edition are identified by a code explaining why the market was omitted: (ED) - Editorial Decision...



Several other codes then are listed.

The possible reasons for a publisher (or agent or other market) not being included in Writer's Market are given on page 3:
When looking for a specific market, check the index. A market may not be listed for one of these reasons:

- It doesn't solicit freelance material.
- It doesn't pay for the material.
- It has gone out of business.
- It has failed to verify or update its listing for this edition.
- It hasn't answered Writer's Market inquiries satisfactorily. (To the best of our ability, and with our reader's help, we try to screen fraudulent listings.)

[my emphasis]

Remember the "other codes" I just mentioned above? Well there are codes in the General Index for every one of these reasons except the very last that I emphasized. There is no code for "fraudulent listing." But there is "ED (Editorial Decision)."

I will not state outright that Durban House is engaging in fraudulent monkey-business, but it sure as hell did not satisfy the minimum requirements of a standard market reference tool like Writer's Market. They decided to take its listing out and simply stated that they decided to do so. Period.


Michael Prescott also posted a very good discussion about this on his blog called Vanity, thy name is Durban. I included this link in my SoloHQ posts.

Also, in answer to Mr. Ben F. Small, one of Durban House's authors who posted at the very end of the same SoloHQ thread, I gave the following answer. (Repeated on SoloP.) We also communicated by email, where he expressed doubts about the value of the subsidy practice for future works.

What is curious about all this is that the links get broken over time. It is almost as if someone is going behind all the negative comments about Durban House on the Internet and trying to get site owners to take the links down. For that reason, I saved several in a Word file.

I need to research all this again to discover which links are now broken and which are not. I will then expand the present post to include my findings. So expect to see this post updated in the future.

The facts are being presented as they fall. I let the reader decide on what conclusion they wish to draw, if any, on using a subsidy publisher for previously unpublished writing by Ayn Rand.

(For the record, my own opinion is not a favorable one, although I have nothing against Durban House and I do wish them success in general. Also, the quality of the graphic and printing production of PARC was good.)

Michael

#5 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 01:06 AM

How many PARC books are being sold?

This is a hard thing to evaluate because all authors and publishers normally exaggerate sales figures (except to the IRS). However, there are a couple of indications that can be used for the general public.


First Printing

As of today, May 29, 2006, PARC appears to still be in its first printing. Therefore, the number of books sold is very likely to be less than the amount of the first printing (barring advance sales, etc.).

I presume Durban House is in business to make money so I will also presume that its commercial policies for PARC for will be standard market policies for any book. Unless a subsidized quantity of books were ordered, I presume that the first printing will be standard for beginning unknown authors, or slightly better because of the inclusion of Rand’s journal entries.

So how many books are printed in a first printing? This varies from publisher to publisher. I tried to find standard first printing numbers for Durban House on the web, but I could not find any. So I have to guess.

A pretty standard number range for unknown authors is from 500 to 1,000. I believe that this is correct for PARC. I would not be surprised if it went up to 2,000 because of the publisher’s enthusiasm about the inclusion of the Rand material. Commercially, though, there is no reason whatsoever for the extra expense. If a book is being “worked,” it makes more sense advertising-wise and publicity-wise to go into a second printing as soon as possible to make it look like a big seller.

Using this reasoning, I estimate that total book sales are under 1,000 up to now.


Amazon sales rank

In a recent poll on RoR about who read PARC, who did not, who intended to, etc., Laure Chipman in Post 54 raised the following issue (May 27, 2006):

Amazon.com Sales Rank of PARC was 171,323rd today; Russian Radical was 480,243rd, for what it's worth.  It'd be nice if Amazon would list total copies they sold, they must have that information...  

(edit) I was just trying to figure out what exactly they mean by "Sales Rank" and couldn't find any info.  I presume it is number of copies sold over some recent period of time, but they don't say.  So, it's just a data point, albeit a somewhat useless one!


I had brought up this issue almost a year ago (June 23, 2005) in Post 18 on a thread called “Wendy McElroy on Nate, Babs, and Ayn.”

Amazon sales ranking? OK let's look. The Valliant book right now is ranked 51,270.

Well the Amazon.com ranking system is based on an algorithm and not actual book sales. It works so that the lower the number, the higher the sales. And it changes once a day for books in Valliant's category (once an hour for the lower numbers, i.e., higher sellers).

According to my little chart here (which is only approximate), 10,000-plus number (up to 100,000) indicates probable sales of between 1 to 10 whole books a week.


Regardless of what the Amazon sales ranking means, PARC as reported is at a much lower ranking yesterday than almost a year ago:

- On June 23, 2005, the Amazon sales rank for PARC was 51,270.
- On May 27, 2006, the Amazon sales rank for PARC was 171,323.

The table I used for my own estimation last year was drawn up by Brent Sampson in an online article called "Navigating the Amazon Sales Ranking." I highly recommend reading it, as it gives the due disclaimers and an overview of how the algorithm works. Here is the approximate table he arrived at:

If the book’s average ranking is: 2,000,000-plus, then perhaps a single inventory/consignment copy has been ordered.

1,000,000-plus, the current trends indicate total sales will most likely be under 40.

100,000-plus, then current trends indicate total sales will most likely be under 200.

10,000-plus, you can estimate between 1 – 10 copies are being sold per week.

1,000-plus, you can estimate between 10 – 100 copies are being sold per week.

100-plus, you can estimate between 100 – 200 copies are being sold per week.

10-plus, you can estimate between 200 – 1000 copies are being sold per week.

In the top 10, you can estimate over 1,000 copies are per week


Another table is given by Dan Poynter, although he does not say where he got these figures from.

Rank Range    Average Sales/Week

----------    ------------------

10,000-up           5 or less

3000-9000          15

750-3000           40

450-750            90

200-300           175

100-200           235

75-100            265


Another table is given by Rampant TechPress in the article, "Inside the Amazon Sales Rank":

Amazon Sale Rank     Actual Books Sold per week

----------------     --------------------------

   75-100                     250-275/wk

   100-200                    225-249/wk

   200-300                    150-200/wk

   450-750                     75-100/wk

   750-3,000                    40-75/wk

   3,000-9,000                  15-20/wk

   10,000+                        1-5/wk


The Rampant TechPress article includes a link to an excellent discussion by Morris Rosenthal called "What Amazon Sales Ranks Mean." Rampant TechPress compiled yet another table from Rosenthal’s article:

  Rank       Copies Sold/day

---------     ---------------

        1     3,000 

       10       650 

      100       100 

    1,000        13 

   10,000         2.2 (11 copies every 5 days) 

  100,000         0.2 (1 copy every 5 days) 

1,000,000         0.006 (3 copies every 500 days) 

2,000,000         0.0001 (1 copy every 1000 days)


This means that Amazon sales for a ranking of 171,323 would probably be somewhere around 1 copy sold per week.

Michael

#6 Michael Stuart Kelly

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 08:32 PM

More about Rand's journal entries

Which of Rand's journal entries made it into PARC? Not all of them. In PARC, pp. 214-215, Valliant lists those that were omitted.

Indeed, the bulk of Rand's "private" journal entries from November of 1967 until July of 1968 pertain in one way or another to Rand's relationship and break with the Brandens and has a direct bearing on their later accounts of this history.

(...)

Not all of this material has been reproduced here. The omitted material falls into four categories: first, material which makes reference to persons other than Nathaniel Branden, Barbara Branden or Patrecia Branden, has been excluded in the interest of privacy.

(...)

Second, material which is wholly repetitive has been omitted.

(...)

Many smaller notes, extremely brief and cryptic have also been omitted.

(...)

Finally, the journal entries from June 5, 1968, were given by Rand to Ms. Branden, and she later sold them. These, along with some brief entries dated from mid-July to mid-August, have not been reproduced, but all of these are highly repetitive of the material to be found here.


During online discussions, he claimed that what he used was fully accurate and that there were no other journal entries dealing with the Brandens, although he admitted not viewing any journal entries outside of the time frame mentioned. Essentially he took Peikoff's word for this.

Apparently, no scholars independent of ARI are allowed to examine the material and corroborate the accuracy of Valliant's use. When questioned on the possibility of such verification, the essence of the answers was that we have to take him at his word.

As indicated in an e-mail to me by Gerald Biggers, he also provided no photocopies of Rand's journal entries.

Michael

#7 Robert Campbell

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 04:32 PM

As of today, PARC's sales ranking at Amazon is 506,605.

Goddess of the Market by Jennifer Burns is 4,429.

Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne Heller is 60,272 (on the strength of prepublication orders; the book is still a month from release).

Robert Campbell

#8 Chris Grieb

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 04:23 AM

As of today, PARC's sales ranking at Amazon is 506,605.

Goddess of the Market by Jennifer Burns is 4,429.

Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne Heller is 60,272 (on the strength of prepublication orders; the book is still a month from release).

Robert Campbell

Ann Heller in an e-mail said that her book was being printed. I hope this means that I will have my copy before the event at Cato with her and Jeniffer Burns on Oct. 28th.

Amazon was reporting a couple of days ago that both the Burns and Heller books were one & two on their biographies best sellers.



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Posted 04 October 2009 - 09:34 AM

Today, PARC stands at 524,551 (after 1 copy was sold last week).

Goddess is at 5,844.

Ayn Rand and the World She Made is moving up at 3,358 (still presale orders only).

Robert Campbell

#10 Robert Campbell

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 09:00 PM

PARC is ranked 294,305 at Amazon today.

Goddess is ranked 3,003.

World She Made (still not published) is ranked 7,619.

Robert Campbell

#11 Robert Campbell

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 08:36 PM

PARC is down to #628,246 at Amazon today.

Goddess has reached 331.

World She Made (which started shipping over the weekend) is up to 558.

Robert Campbell

#12 Bill P

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 09:02 PM

PARC is down to #628,246 at Amazon today.

Goddess has reached 331.

World She Made (which started shipping over the weekend) is up to 558.

Robert Campbell


Here's hoping my copy of World She Made arrives in Shanghai before I fly back to the USA in early December...

Bill P

#13 Chris Grieb

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 05:12 AM

PARC is down to #628,246 at Amazon today.

Goddess has reached 331.

World She Made (which started shipping over the weekend) is up to 558.

Robert Campbell

I think the market has spoken.

#14 Bill P

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 05:22 AM

Anyone know what PARC peaked at?

You know, PARC spelled backward is CRAP.

Bill P

Edited by Bill P, 27 October 2009 - 05:22 AM.


#15 Robert Campbell

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 09:53 AM

Bill P,

I don't know the exact peak for CRAP-spelled-backwards, but judging from the information that Michael provided above, I'll guess that it was around #50,000.

Robert C

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 03:44 PM

Today at Amazon:

PARC is ranked 728,108th.

World She Made is ranked 211th.

Goddess is 465th.

The market continues to speak.

Robert Campbell

#17 Chris Grieb

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 03:40 AM

Today at Amazon:

PARC is ranked 728,108th.

World She Made is ranked 211th.

Goddess is 465th.

The market continues to speak.

Robert Campbell

The high figure for PARC must mean that no copies are being sold.

#18 Robert Campbell

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 06:47 PM

Today at Amazon:

PARC is ranked 160,090th (sold two copies in the past week).

World She Made is ranked 59th.

Goddess is 229th.

The market is speaking loudly.

Robert Campbell

#19 Robert Campbell

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 09:46 PM

Today at Amazon:

PARC is ranked 333,501st.

World She Made is still ranked 59th.

Goddess is 201st.

Robert Campbell

#20 Ninth Doctor

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 10:00 PM

The rising tide should lift all boats, even PARC. When it’s available for $.01 plus shipping I may finally buy it. I’m sure its pages can be safely converted to cat litter.
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