Walmart isn’t putting Ronda Rousey’s soon-t0-be-released autobiography on the shelves. Uproar ensues. “How dare Walmart sell guns but deem the subject matter of Rousey’s book too violent!” shout the masses. “How dare they!”
Well, first, let’s get to the truth of the matter, which comes to us courtesy of TMZ Sports *shudders*:
Spokesperson Danit Marquardt tells TMZ Sports … Walmart has been anticipating Ronda’s book release since last September, and you can already pre-order it on the company’s website.
However, she did confirm the book will not be on display in Walmart stores. You can pick it up in the store if you order it online. In other words … the book will be in the stock room, but not out for customers to see.
As for why Walmart’s hiding Ronda’s memoir — Marquardt wouldn’t comment on the “too violent” report … but said “a variety of factors” played into the decision to only offer it online.
Chick site Jezebel dug a little deeper by reaching out to a Walmart spokesperson and got this:
I asked if the book’s content had anything to do with Walmart’s decision to sell this book in this way. Marquadt responded: “There’s a variety of factors that we look at when determining what items to offer our customers. At this point we’ve chosen to offer this particular title to our customers online. We’ll continue to watch how customers respond.” She added that Walmart’s website sells millions of items versus the 150,000 sold in an average Walmart Supercenter.
I asked again if the book’s content was one of those deciding factors; at this point, Marquadt could presumably have said “No,” or “I don’t know” or “We’re saving space for more in-demand titles” or something. Instead, she told me: “I’ve shared with you what I have to share. In terms of the factors that we look at, there are a lot of different factors that we look at when determining what items to offer our customers.” This information—and not one iota more—was all repeated in an email that she sent to me after we hung up.
Now here’s a little perspective from an author who’s been there and has a little insight in how book distribution works (and that someone is me): Retailers – especially those that aren’t dedicated book sellers – have limited shelf space. Therefore, they’re only going to put the books that are already bestsellers out front. Why would they do otherwise? It would be a waste of space to put something in front of the customers that doesn’t sell. However, if something does start selling – like Rousey’s book – you can bet it’s going to be trotted out and place front and center. That’s just how the business works, and it has nothing to do with the contents of Rousey’s autobiography.
Kudos to Rousey’s PR person, though. Circulating that story was a genius move.