Yesterday, I told you about reports that Mars Hill Church paid a PR firm at least $200,000 to get Pastor Mark Driscoll's book on the New York Times bestseller list. Today, Warren Throckmorton published details of the contract. Turns out, gaming the system requires a very complicated formula: The PR firm buys some of the books from Amazon, and the client has to provide "a gift message containing up to 240 characters" to make it look like a real person is buying the books as a gift for someone. The PR firm also requires "90 different addresses," with "no more than 3 addresses per state" because the "NYT bestseller list requires a maximum of 90 geographically disperse [sic] addresses." Throckmorton also writes:
I spoke to a former Mars Hill pastor last night who told me that some MHC locations had hundreds of books just gathering dust. Some of those bulk orders might still be sitting in MHC storage room.
What a wonderful, Christian way to spend your money! Sure, those funds could go toward poor and hungry people, but this seems like a more worthy cause, doesn't it? I'm sure if Jesus were alive today, he'd buy his way onto bestseller lists, too.