Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Celebrity Endorsement

We buy books for various reasons. Reports from friends. Reviews in newspapers and magazines. Even reviews and recommendations from blogs. Sometimes even buying books because they are a good, fashionable thing to carry around. Sitting in a bar reading The Idiot says more about you than you realize.

But buying a book because it was recommended by Osama Bin Laden?
What does it say about someone who buys a book on that recommendation?
In his recently released tape, Osama bin Laden - or "Binners" as he's now known at the MoD - referred to Rogue State, the book by the American writer William Blum, which seeks to explain why the US is sometimes a target of terrorists. The mention has catapulted Mr Blum's book up to as high as No 21 on the Amazon bestseller list and in this country the mention has had an equally dramatic effect. "It has made a huge difference," said a spokeswoman for Zed Books, which publishes Rogue State here. "We are reprinting now." Could Osama now become a more powerful endorser than Richard and Judy and Oprah combined?
Some bookshop somewhere is going to (no, will already) have a picture of OBL with the message "This guy recommends.."

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