Bill O’Reilly is a Rich, Lying Baby Who Wants Your Money Too

On the June 24th edition of “The O’Reilly Factor”, host Bill O’Reilly complained about his upcoming book KILLING REAGAN being left out of Publishers Weekly’s Fall Announcements issue. O’Reilly concluded that his book was left out for two factors:

  1. Publishers Weekly is run by liberals
  2. Publishers Weekly does not want you to know about Ronald Reagan

And they certainly don’t want KILLING REAGAN to be a success. Which is absolutely ludicrous. Why would an industry trade magazine care whether the book is a success? Loads of conservative books have been huge bestsellers, and received tremendous coverage in PW, both editorially and in their bestseller lists. Publishers Weekly, an influential trade magazine geared towards the publishing industry, responded with a post, in which they refused O’Reilly’s claim they they had not responded to Holt (O’Reilly’s publisher) regarding the omission, as well as O’Reilly’s claim that KILLING PATTON was the bestselling book of 2014 (it was the bestselling non-fiction title, to O’Reilly’s credit). O’Reilly is using this omission to play victim, insinuating that this big, bad liberal entity is holding him back and preventing the American public from knowing about his book. Well, if Bill O’Reilly is a victim, then I’m Ronald Reagan.

Now, this issue is fairly personal to me. I run Polis Books, a fairly new independent publishing company that launched in the Fall of 2013. We chose not to have VC backing, we are not owned or managed by a billion dollar media conglomerate, and we cherish any and all press or sales our books receive. Our titles have, blessedly, received some very strong reviews from Publishers Weekly. I felt we had a few titles that were worthy of inclusion on their Fall Announcements list, yet none of our titles were included in the issue. I emailed them to ask about the company-wide omission, and my contact at PW informed me, very cordially, that their list was truncated this year, and assured me that we would have titles included in the next season. I was satisfied by this response. You cannot guarantee publicity — we just want our titles to get noticed. And given that independent publishers are often fighting an uphill battle — we don’t have the cash that O’Reilly’s publishers Holt or Random House do — these notices matter that much more to the survival of our companies.

And that is why Bill O’Reilly is awful.

Since the publication of KILLING LINCOLN in September, 2011, Bill O’Reilly has released 10 books in hardcover: KILLING LINCOLN, LINCOLN’S LAST DAYS, KILLING KENNEDY, KEEP IT PITHY, KENNEDY’S LAST DAYS, KILLING JESUS, THE LAST DAYS OF JESUS, KILLING PATTON, BILL O’REILLY’S LEGENDS AND LIES and HITLER’S LAST DAYS. Based on Bookscan, which reports approximately 80% of the market, Bill O’Reilly’s hardcovers alone have sold 6,893,722 copies. Let me repeat that: 6,893,722 copies. In hardcover alone.

Since September 2011, based off of standard royalty rates (15% of the cover price for hardcovers), in less than four years Bill O’Reilly has earned approximately $29,262,984. That’s in hardcover book royalties alone, and that’s only the 80% or so reported by Bookscan. I’m not factoring in audiobook sales (which are in the hundreds of thousands of copies) or ebook sales. Suffice it to say that in less than four years, O’Reilly has made well over $30 million dollars in book income alone, and more likely between $40 and $50 million.

A search of Publishers Weekly’s databases returns 554 mentions of ‘Bill O’Reilly’ and 407 mentions of ‘Ronald Reagan’ (that O’Reilly is mentioned more than one of the most popular Presidents of all time should raise an eyebrow). Clearly they’re trying to prevent you from knowing about either one.

What Bill O’Reilly did not mention during his pity-a-thon is that KILLING KENNEDY was included in Publishers Weekly’s 2012 Fall Announcements issue, and KILLING JESUS was included in Publishers Weekly’s 2013 Fall Announcements issue. So based on this logic, PW loves Jesus but hates Reagan. Totally legitimate argument.

Books in O’Reilly’s ‘KILLING’ series have sold well over 6 million copies in hardcover on Bookscan alone. KILLING REAGAN will be an instant bestseller upon release and barring force majeure sell well over a million copies. Yet O’Reilly is peeved that PW didn’t mention his book. Because tens of millions of dollars in earnings, hundreds of mentions and multiple announcements just isn’t enough. The logic here is I deserve it. I deserve everything. And if I don’t get what I want, you’re my enemy. Know who else has that mentality? Toddlers.

I don’t have a cable news show that draws several million viewers a night to air my pitiful and unwarranted gripes. I feel very fortunate for what I have, and what I’ve earned. I work damned hard and every book my company sells feels like a million bucks. If my books are lucky enough to be featured by the trade media, I’m thrilled. If not, I’ll inquire as to why and do my best to make sure they’re included next time. Public shaming is not in my arsenal like O’Reilly’s. Nor do I make in the neighborhood of twenty million a year between book income and hosting duties.

This post is not political. It’s moral. It’s ethical. When you have a house made of gold, it’s downright disgusting to complain that you also want your neighbor’s silver. Maybe that slot in the PW announcement issue went to a book that wouldn’t have been a huge bestseller , but now has a shot due to the increased exposure. O’Reilly’s books have sold millions. Earned him many more millions. He needs more exposure like Kim Kardashian needs more exposure. Aside from the plain untruths in his selfish rant, O’Reilly has about as much sympathy as a Park Avenue Prince complaining that Whole Foods ran out of his favorite kombucha.

And for what it’s worth, Kim Kardashian’s book SELFISH wasn’t in PW’s announcements either. And I didn’t see her complaining.

Jason Pinter is the Founder and Publisher of Polis Books, an independent press founded in 2013. He is also the author of six novels which have nearly 1.5 million copies in print worldwide and have been nominated for numerous awards.