More Trouble for Mark Driscoll

Poor Mark Driscoll. First he’s caught plagiarizing repeatedly in his books and now a Christian magazine is reporting that his church paid huge amounts of money to buy up copies of his latest book to make sure that it made the NY Times bestseller list.

Seattle’s Mars Hill Church paid a California-based marketing company at least $210,000 in 2011 and 2012 to ensure that Real Marriage, a book written by Mark Driscoll, the church’s founding pastor, and his wife Grace, made the New York Times best-seller list.

According to a document obtained by WORLD, Result Source Inc. (RSI) contracted with Mars Hill “to conduct a bestseller campaign for your book, Real Marriage on the week of January 2, 2012. The bestseller campaign is intended to place Real Marriage on The New York Times bestseller list for the Advice How-To list.”

The marketing company also promised to help place Real Marriage on the Wall Street Journal Business, USA Today Money, (Barnes & Noble), and best-seller lists…

The details of the agreement between Mars Hill and Result Source are complicated. Result Source received a fee of $25,000 to coordinate a nationwide network of book buyers who would purchase Real Marriage at locations likely to generate reportable sales for various best-seller lists, including the New York Times list. Mars Hill also paid for the purchase of at least 11,000 books ranging in price from $18.62 to $20.70, depending on whether the books were purchased individually or in bulk. The contract called for 6,000 of the books to be bought by individuals, whose names were supplied by the church. Another 5,000 books were bought in bulk.

This is how a lot of books make the bestseller list, especially books with a political or religious theme. For politicians, companies and PACs buy up thousands of books to give them out to employees or donors. It’s a way of getting around the campaign contribution limits. It’s a pretty good racket.

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  • David C Brayton

    There was a actual written contract with detailed plans? O vey.

    If I had the potential to take either RSI or Mars Hill Church as a client I’d be torn. On the one hand, RSI is up front about the fact that they are morally bankrupt. On the other hand, Mars Hill probably does a few things that benefit the community.

    [The auto play ads on your site are the most annoying I’ve ever seen. They play over and over and there is no way to stop them without being taken away from Dispatches.]

  • Teve Tory

    What are ads? (says guy who installed AdBlock Plus sometime in early 2000s)

  • paulparnell

    I would like to second that complaint about autoplay ads. I simply cannot figure how anyone thinks advertising this way does anything but piss people off. This is the kind of ad you expect from a porn site.

    I don’t block adds. I don’t object to advertisements even for things I have no interest in. I do object to people screaming in my ear.

  • Modusoperandi

    paulparnell “I do object to people screaming in my ear.”


  • Pierce R. Butler

    The contract called for 6,000 of the books to be bought by individuals, whose names were supplied by the church.

    Why does the church need an outside contractor to handle purchases made by members of the church?

  • daved


    He is now.

  • Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy


    Let’s see, there’s the anti-gay and misogynist preaching, and the attempt to pressure the local transit agency to drop a contract to buy some land–land that his church didn’t notice it might want until after the other contract was signed. As a queer woman who rides the bus regularly and is part of the community, I don’t think he is doing good for the community: at best, he may be putting his church’s name on a small amount of charitable donations that would be made anyhow.

    I have no qualms at all about ignoring the “Mars Hill Church is hiring” emails that I get from one of the places that has my resume. If I was that broke, I’d rather apply for minimum-wage jobs that I wouldn’t be ashamed to have on my resume. I don’t know what you do professionally–if you run a janitorial service, okay. If you’re doing PR or law and would take them on as a client, think twice. The people who manipulate the bestseller list may be morally bankrupt, but they would do the same for an organization that was doing good in the world; Mars Hill Church’s goals are harmful.

  • lordshipmayhem

    I first saw this technique of going out and buying tons of books to put them on the best-seller list in a MAD magazine article from the 1960’s satirizing the publishing industry. It is somewhat depressing to see reality overtake satire yet again.