Legions of Donald Trump’s most fervent supporters on Reddit and 4chan desperately tried—and failed—to keep Hillary Clinton’s new book, What Happened, from reaching the No. 1 spot on Amazon’s best-seller list this week, and lost a lot of money in the process.
Days before Clinton’s book release, a post on 4chan’s political message board /pol/ urged users to purchase copies of Trump’s July 2016 book Great Again: How To Fix Our Crippled America. The post told users to buy the book on Tuesday, September 12, the same day Clinton’s memoir about her failed 2016 election campaign, hit bookshelves.
However, when that same post was shared on Reddit, the directions told users to buy an entirely different Trump book, thus ruining the plan before it ever took off.
“I saw a thread a while back about buying Great Again/Crippled America (Trump’s book) the same day Hillary’s book is released (September 12th), and try to get enough people to surpass her in book sales,” the 4chan post read. “We should do that honestly. It’d be hilarious.”
The post was shared on the Donald Trump subreddit, r/The_Donald, last Sunday, and quickly became one of the most popular posts on the forum, earning more than 9,000 upvotes.
“I'm so doing it. Fuck Hillary,” read the most upvoted comment on the thread. “I'm gonna send a copy to my #resist crazy aunt. She's gonna be so triggered,” posted another user.
Nevertheless, the plan failed. What Happened was the No. 1 best-selling book on Amazon Tuesday, and retained the top spot on Wednesday afternoon. Trump’s book was at No. 8, though it managed to edge into the No. 6 spot for a period of time on Tuesday, according to another popular post on r/The_Donald.
The failure by some of Trump’s biggest online communities came down largely to a lack of coordination. While the original 4chan post urged users to purchase Great Again, the frequently upvoted Reddit post asked commenters to buy a completely different book, Time to Get Tough: Make America Great Again!, which was released almost a full year earlier. That book didn’t rank inside the top 100 best-selling books Wednesday on Amazon.
It also didn’t help that many posters on r/The_Donald doubted the plan, claiming that even if they managed to successfully out-purchase What Happened, Amazon would still list Clinton’s new book as its No. 1 best-seller, changing their algorithm to fit an alleged vast left-wing conspiracy.
“They'll just change the book sales listings to meet whatever agenda they want,” one poster wrote.
Others suggested that Clinton, or her supporters, would purchase copies of her book en masse in order to artificially inflate sales.
“She will take every penny she makes from it to buy more copies of her own book and artificially inflate her sales in an effort to make herself look more popular/relevant,” one Reddit user commented.
Others still didn’t think Amazon deserved their cash, like Redditor who wrote that “I would do this, except I don't want to give money to Amazon.”
Some users simply failed to understand the plan entirely.
“I fucked up and bought Art Of The Deal on Thursday,” one user responded.
By Wednesday afternoon, Great Again lagged behind several books, including It, Stephen King’s famous horror novel that was just adapted into a hit movie, and Princesses Wear Pants, a new children’s book co-authored by NBC’s TODAY anchor Savannah Guthrie.