Rightwing commentator Milo Yiannopolous’ controversial book Dangerous has gone straight into the US top 10 chart, swiping sixth place after selling 18,268 copies in its first week on sale.
After the former Breitbart editor’s book deal with Simon & Schuster was shelved in February, he announced plans to self-publish the title through his imprint Dangerous Books. Claims by his PR firm made a week ago that “100,000 copies were delivered to Amazon and sold out in the first day of release” are not borne out by Nielsen BookScan data, although it does not track the sale of e-books.
Yiannopolous is not the highest charting right wing author in last week’s top 10—Mark R Levin’s Rediscovering Americanism, published by Simon & Schuster US imprint Threshold Editions, dropped to second after John Grisham’s Camino Island (Doubleday) reclaimed its number one.
Threshold was also the imprint due to publish Dangerous, after reportedly giving the controversial figure a $250,000 advance. However, the publisher backed out of the deal following weeks of pressure from other outraged Simon & Schuster authors and after a radio interview emerged in which he appeared to condone sexual relations with young boys.
In retaliation last Friday (7th July), Yiannopoulos served the publisher with a $10m lawsuit for backing out of the deal.
The suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, alleged the publisher’s decision to terminate the contract was due to public perception.
“Simon & Schuster’s termination of the Yiannopoulos’ book contract had nothing to do with the content of the Dangerous manuscript, and everything to do with the firestorm of controversy around Yiannopoulos, his well-known reputation for political incorrectness, and Simon & Schuster’s announcement of plans to publish his book,” it read.
Yiannopoulos himself told reporters outside Simon & Schuster's Manhattan offices at the time: "Because of political pressure ... in the space of 24 hours they suddenly decided that the book was unfit for publication. Well that's unacceptable. They don't get to break the deal on what I believe is a false pretext because they caved to political pressure. So they have to pay."
But S&S has said the suit was ”entirely without merit”.
A spokesperson told The Bookseller: "Although we have not been officially served, we believe that Yiannopoulos's lawsuit is publicity driven and entirely without merit. Simon & Schuster will vigorously defend itself against any such action, and fully expects to prevail in court.”
Yiannopoulos said last month that 65,000 copies of his memoir Dangerous had been sold on pre-order, while his PR firm AMW Public Relations told Publishers Weekly last week that "100,000 copies were delivered to Amazon and sold out in the first day of release."