Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Who is the Most Popular Author At Google? A number of my friends have been lucky enough to be tapped as Google Authors – you know, the writers who get to take a trip to Google headquarters in Mountain View or Santa Monica or New York and talk to Google workers while they snack on Google-prepared lunches. Oh, yes. Google buys a bunch of their books and then passes them out to those attending the talk.

I first heard of the Google Authors program when Pamela Mazzola and Nancy Oakes, authors of the gorgeous cookbook, Boulevard, visited the Mountain View campus in 2005. Since then the program has become well known, with write ups in various newspapers. A few other friends, Neil MacFarquhar, who wrote The Sand Café, and Julia Flynn Siler, who wrote The House of Mondavi, have also been tapped.

Google does more than pass out an author’s books. The company also films the author’s talk and posts it to YouTube, creating one of the most vibrant libraries of literary lectures around.

So guess who are the most favorite authors, as judged by the number of times their videos have been viewed? It’s an eclectic list.

1) Christopher Hitchens, author of God is Not Great. His video has been viewed 25,536 times. (In just two months!)

2) Cory Doctorow’s video has been looked at 15,039 timers.

3) James Randi’s video has been viewed 10,838 times.

4) Neil Gaiman’s has been looked at 9,916 times.

5) Bess Vanrenen’s video has been looked at 7,689.

6) Elizabeth Gilbert’s video has been looked at 6,322 times.

7) Andrew Keen’s has been viewed 5,737 times.

8) Julia Flynn Siler’s video has been looked at 2,227 times.

I will confess I have never heard of some of these authors. Randi is a magician, Vanrenen is the editor of the anthology Generation What? Dispatches from the Quarter-Life Crisis. Andrew Keen is the author of The Cult of the Amateur.

The author viewings pale compared to viewings of political candidates.

1) Ron Paul’s video has been viewed 234,017 times

2) Hillary Clinton’s has been viewed 44,363 times in the past six months.

3) John McCain’s has been viewed 18,152 times.

4) John Edwards has less traction. His video has been looked at 7,997 times.

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