Fact Check

Costco Removes Dinesh D'Souza's Book

Has Costco pulled copies of Dinesh D'Souza's book 'America: Imagine a World Without Her' from their stores?

Published Jul 9, 2014

Claim:   Costco has removed copies of Dinesh D'Souza's book America: Imagine a World Without Her from their stores.


Examples:   [Collected via e-mail, July 2014]

Read on Facebook that the owner of Costco had ordered books by Denesh D'Souza to be removed from Costco's shelves.


Origins:   Political commentator Dinesh D'Souza was the focus of a publishing brouhaha in July 2014 when the Costco chain of warehouse discount stores, citing poor sales, pulled his book America: Imagine the World Without Her from their shelves just as a film based upon that work (America) was hitting theaters. Critics charged that Costco's actions were politically motivated because D'Souza's work is highly critical of President Barack Obama, with whom the Costco chain has significant friendly ties:

Costco has pulled from its stores a new book by virulent anti-Obama author Dinesh D’Souza, setting off a landslide of suspicion, criticism and racy innuendo from media voices on the right.

The co-founders of the Issaquah-based retail giant, Jim Sinegal and Jeffrey Brotman, both hosted the 44th president in 2012 for fundraisers in their homes. Both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have visited Costco stores, and Sinegal spoke at the 2012 Democratic Convention.

The official reason for removal of the book is slow sales, a Costco official [said]. The book had reportedly sold 3,600 copies at Costco, 700 of them [the previous] week.

Costco's response to inquiries about the issue has been to assert that their motivation for pulling D’Souza’s book from their shelves was based on sales rather than politics:

Costco is not influenced by political considerations in selecting product for sale in our warehouses or on Costco.com. This includes our selection of books. Our book buyers are solely interested in book sales, and do not favor any political persuasion over another. Recently, after deciding to sell the book "America: Imagine the World Without Her", beginning on June 1, a decision was made to pull the book from sale on July 1. This decision was based solely on the number of copies sold during that month, and had nothing to do with the content of the book.

Costco is not a book store. Our book shelf space is very limited. We exercise discipline in the best utilization of that limited space based solely on what our members are buying. We can't carry every title that our members are interested in reading. We are constantly monitoring book sales, and make decisions to pull books off the shelves frequently based on sales volume to make room for other titles. Politics or controversy over content do not influence our decisions.

By the end of the day on 8 July 2014, Costco began adding a paragraph to their standard customer response indicating that they had reversed their position and would be re-stocking D'Souza's America: Imagine a World Without Her:

After we made the return, a documentary was released about the book. Since then there has been heightened interest by our membership base and
brisk sales at locations still in stock. Therefore, we have made the decision to reorder the book.

Last updated:   8 July 2014


    Bond, Paul.

  "'America' Filmmakers Demand to Know Why Google Is Getting Their Search Results Wrong."

    The Hollywood Reporter.   8 July 2014.

    Connelly, Joel.   "Costco Pulls Book by Anti-Obama Author Dinesh D’Souza from Its Stores."

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer.   8 July 2014.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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