What to Do If Boycotted by 1,000+ Bookstores? Open Your Own Bookstores, Of Course.


So far, The 4-Hour Chef has had some great allies, including Panera (complete with new hidden Slow-Carb Diet menu), BitTorrent (bundle here), and Hastings. In San Francisco, Samovar Tea Lounges in now selling signed copies in all locations!

But I’m most excited about my next partner: you.

What to do if 1,000+ books stores are boycotting you? Create your own bookstores, of course. That’s where The Army of Davids Campaign comes in.

- From now until Friday at midnight PST, interested readers can sell The 4-Hour Chef through their own “bookstore” Fan Fundraising pages on Rally.org here.

- I will donate $6 of every book sold (100% of my royalties and then some) to DonorsChoose.org to help high-need public school classrooms.


#1 – Grand Prize for most books sold (500 books minimum): An all-expenses-paid overseas food sabbatical with me and friends. You’ve seen me host trips to India, Africa, and elsewhere. They’re always a blast. Though details are TBD and dates will be mutually agreed, it’s likely we’ll be doing a high-end trip through Tuscany, Italy.

#2 and #3 – Runners-up Prize for second and third most books sold (250 books minimum): An all-expenses-paid full-day trip to SF to see my favorite spots and enjoy mastermind jam sessions with me and a small group of entrepreneurs.

Find full details here, and I hope to travel with you soon! If you need an inspirational video to get you pumped, here’s one of my favorites. Avante!

Posted on: November 21, 2012.

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Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

101 comments on “What to Do If Boycotted by 1,000+ Bookstores? Open Your Own Bookstores, Of Course.

  1. Tim,

    This will be helpful for all the graphic designers out there.

    “How to get $125 worth of (FREE) downloads from TheVectorLab”

    If you buy The 4-Hour Chef through my “Contribute” link (Click on my name above to find my page)

    I will email you a FREE $75 Gift Certificate Coupon good for any Graphic Design downloads off my website, TheVectorLab.com -AND- a also a Brand NEW product called Designer’s Toolkit which is a variety collection of some of our most popular stock art (worth $50)

    Feel free to click on my name above to check out my page and [video] for more details.


    Ray Dombroski


  2. Cook Like a Pro, Freeze Dunk a Human Turkey!

    In support of Tim’s new book, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ve upped the ante on my Rally page.

    If I sell 500 books by tomorrow at midnight I’m going to put on a turkey suit and jump into the freezing Atlantic Ocean at Coney Island on Saturday December 1st, all caught on camera.

    Help me, help Tim – and see me get freeze dunked too!

    Support here: https://rally.org/The4HourChef/hFgEarRMTZx/bennettjohnston



  3. Does B&N not remember a time when they were actually the innovators of what was then traditional business? It’s fighting back in a “sore loser” kind of way, which actually might be a little prophetic of where they’ll end up. Bought the book BTW, it is goooodd. Wait… saw shooting star, gotta wash hands. Later!


  4. Hey Tim,

    here is my support for your campaign: A 5-minute reading from your book “The 4-hour chef”.

    Go and rock the bestseller lists!


    Leunam from Germany


  5. Your book arrived yesterday – l loved the meta-learning. It’s making me re-evaluate my own teaching.

    Hit a roadblock with Dom. I have a pretty small kitchen. I don’t have space for much new equipment.

    I’m going to run another 80/20 analysis on my kitchenware + a nearby closet, but I was wondering if you have any tips for those with limited space.

    p.s. If anyone from your team creates a list of Canadian sources for the equipment, I’m sure that would boost use of your book in the frozen north this winter.

    If that’s not in the works, let me know and I’ll see about making one.


  6. I’m very excited to read the book and pumped to start a site and tap into my network to share and promote “The 4-hour Chef.” My goal is for a $1000 and I want to sell, at the very least, 3 books. I am moving to China from Florida for a year to teach english and have a great feeling that this book is going to be very helpful at preparing me to rely on myself to create and project. Good luck to all participants.


  7. How can non-US residents get a hold of your book?

    I’ve been trying to demystify the art of cooking myself but was held back by the seemingly sheer vastness of it all and I would like to get a copy for myself.


  8. Tim,

    This phrase doesn’t make sense to me. You wrote in your response:

    “Customers want certain things that Amazon (and companies like Apple) want.”

    Amazon wants customers. Amazon became famous for becoming one of the largest online retail distribution companies. Amazon DID destroy small retail businesses by outselling the competition. It’s not terribly complicated. I buy from Amazon. I’ve purchased mainly books and/or music. Sometimes I’ve purchased household-related products. But before I first began purchasing from Amazon, I would go purchase from physical retailers. Some of these physical retailers could be big corporations (like Amazon) or it could be a small shop in my neighborhood that sells CD’s, for example. But what has Amazon done? It’s made me lazy and give less of my business to physical retailers. I still have to pay for shipping on Amazon. Bookstores have gone out of business, thanks to Amazon. Big fish eats little fish. Competitors wanting to stay alive would do exactly would take the exact same action as B&N did. Forcing people to purchase from Amazon is not providing consumer choice. But then smaller businesses are fighting for their survival. Amazon publishing is definitely the first step into Amazon carving out an even larger empire for itself. The big banks need to be broken up. Maybe Amazon needs to be broken up.


  9. Hi Tim.

    I’ve been trying to advertise my rally.org donation page with Facebook PPC, but my ad can’t get approved because the donation page doesn’t have a privacy policy on it.

    Can you let them know?



  10. Hey there Tim.
    I so, so, SO wanted the chance to win this thing, but the site wouldn’t even let me sign up, let alone buy, let alone create a bookstore. :( Any chance you can set some kind of competition/challenge for us non-US people to have a chance to catch up with you too? Like maybe if you end up doing a promo tour or something? I so want to pick your brain about the protocols you used for 4 hour body, so I can find what works with my (intolerant/allergic to meat and seafood) vegetarian one.

    Anyway, I see a few other Aussies are here – and a few comments from other non-locals. FYI guys, anyone can buy it through amazon, from pretty much anywhere I think, but for the Aussies it’s also available locally on bookworld.com.au, (mine was only ordered 2 days ago, so I can’t say how long it takes, but they have already sent me notice it’s shipped).


  11. Why do you care about print sales at all? B&N will be gone in a few years, and now that you’re with the best publisher on the planet, you should be happy with digital. You’ll sell more digital copies than print anyway. The Amazon imprints have released several books that have sold hundreds of thousands of copies right out of the gate, and the NYT bestseller list wouldn’t acknowledge them, so don’t count on them acknowledging you even if you do hit #1 on bookscan (which is only 20% of sales anyway). So, if the NYT list doesn’t matter, and Bookscan doesn’t matter, what’s the point? Why play their game now that it’s dying. Seems like backward thinking to me.


  12. Hi Tim,

    You’re being hypocritical.

    I love your books and your blog, but you are partnering with Amazon and do not want the other bookstores to boycott your book?

    Come on… Amazon is using all the old corporate tricks to become a giant monopolistic publishing business.

    You criticize Monsanto in your book, but Amazon uses the same methods. Crush smaller competitors, rip off customers, lobbying, whatever they can to maximize profits. Now that corporate giants turned their backs on you, you want moms and pops to sell your books?

    Fair play to you for trying, but let’s not make out that this is a crusade against evil oppressors who are trying to stop you from starting a “revolution” in the publishing industry.

    It’s just business. You want to sell more and that’s it. They do not want to stock your book because Amazon is already causing a lot of damage to their profits margins. That is all.


  13. Hi Tim,

    I just went to Barnes and Noble and interviewed at great length a highly knowledgeable employee about why the book might be banned or boycotted from the store. The employee relayed to me the book is indeed in the Barnes and Noble computer system. The bookstore does not have it in stock simply because it does not yet have a contract with Amazon. Once the contract is in place, as said employee expected it would be, eventually, the bookstore will get the book. If a bookstore wants to make a profit, why would it ban a book riding on the “Four Hour” wave, which will likely be profitable–schools and religious organizations are among those that typically ban/boycott books, not bookstores.

    In order to make sure that I am not misinterpreting the definition of “ban” or “boycott”, I just looked up the definitions of said terms in the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

    boycott: to engage in a concerted refusal to have dealings with (as a person, store, or organization) usually to express disapproval or to force acceptance of certain conditions

    ban: archaic : curse
    2: to prohibit especially by legal means ; also : to prohibit the use, performance, or distribution of

    Using the above two terms to describe the situation appears to be inaccurate.



    • Hi Liz,

      The employee is a bit in the dark, so allow me to provide background.

      The terms “boycott” and “ban” apply here, including by Merriam-Webster for few reasons:

      - B&N originally said it wouldn’t carry my book (4-Hour Chef or “4HC”) due to Amazon not making it available on the Nook.
      - Amazon agreed to put it on the Nook and B&N still refused to carry 4HC.
      - Some B&N managers decided to try and order 4HC for their stores, and B&N corporate gave them the slap down, enforcing a ban on the book from corporate HQ.

      Hope that helps!



      • Interesting, and thank you. I, personally, am looking forward to the “arugula pasta” (?) in your book. Thank you again. –Liz


      • P.S. I did pick up an Alice Waters cookbook in the meantime…but will wait to get on that until tomorrow, early. Too tired from Thanksgiving cooking (I guess I am a lightweight). :)


  14. I made a video of Jude’s Chuck Roast. It was super easy to make and was very good. I also made one for middle eastern eggs which I will put up later.

    I’m a big fan and love the book. I bought the hard cover. I will do my part and make videos and hopefully make some sales from it. As a side note Rob Wolf and Kelly Starret are one of my most favorite content on the web.

    Anyways, I litteraly got the book today in the mail and was very ambitious and went and bought a dutch oven and all the ingredients for Jude’s Chuck Roast. Then went and made the eggs. The best looking and tasting eggs I’ve ever made. I’ve been wondering how the heck restuarants not burn their eggs and get them “snotty.” lol.


  15. Hi–My comment was not rude so why was it deleted? I just pointed out that this blog is misleading. The independent bookstores are not BOYCOTTING your book. They just do not want to be the showroom for Amazon and who can blame them? Amazon has done everything to put them out of business and as you know indies were big supporters of your earlier books. I want my independent bookstores (and even other brick and mortar ones such as B&N) to stay in business. The bookstores I talked to said they would special order your book but not merchandise it as they do others from real publishers who have sales rep/publicity people and even help them with co-op advertising. Was Random House bad to you? Hope everyone continues to support their independent bookstores!


    • Hi DA,

      I’m not sure what happened to the other comment, but thanks for this one. To be clear: if a store deliberately does not buy something, that is a boycott. Many indies (but not all) are doing exactly that.

      I didn’t go to Amazon because Random House was bad to me. I did go to Amazon because they are willing and able to test really innovative things that are good for content creators (and ultimately good for the end reader). I have nothing against independent bookstores and visit them here in my hometown of SF all the time.

      Hope that helps!



  16. Tim,
    Currently the copies available at the Samovar Tea Lounge have signed notecards…The book is not signed.
    I am guessing it was to ensure a quick turnaround. Will you be signing the actual books at some point?



  17. Everyone loves an underdog story. Saying that, I can’t wait to get my copy and I wish Tim the best of luck. To all the haters, keep posting, Tim’s hilarious retorts make my day.



  18. Hey Tim,
    Your books are all over Wichita, Kansas (where I moved to for So Cal last year… :P)
    Anyway, just wanted to let you know I found 4 Hour Chef at a little Indie bookstore, and bought 4HB from Barns and Noble… Which I wouldn’t have done if I knew they were boycotting your other book.
    Anyway, still promoting the books even if I didn’t see the contest post until now. Best of luck and congratulations on all your success!


  19. Tim-
    I am an adjunct Professor on the side; during the day I am an executive for a leading healthcare company in California (BlueShield). Here’s the deal- I have taught MBA classes for 8 years and for the first time doing someting radical- making your book (4 hour work week) as the main “academic book” for an Technology for Executives MBA class- imagine teaching 40 of the next gen leaders “IT” using your book! And that’s where I am asking for a little help on how to use your frameworks to lead this 10 week class. I get your in demand, but I could be an agent to proliferate your content in academic circles and business graduate programs (I teach at 3 major institutions). Let me know if you have 15 minutes to talk live,


  20. I saw your “The four – Hour Work week”.
    I am a Chinese readers. This is from the other end of the message.
    There are three problems.
    The first: in “low-information diet”.
    Do you mean “fast” is only for news information and useless material, or all it takes to read the text? Should

    ask someone else?
    I according to “D (Definition)” made a study plan, to enrich himself. But to step E I dizzy. Because it should

    all Elimination.
    2: I want to know according to your description, you don’t absorb those information, so some of your inspiration

    come from? I understand that good health condition, can be in specific things to find the most important way and

    action. But if you don’t read the book, I also can’t contact you this book. The problem is, your information in

    addition to from others, but also come from?
    3: this is a request. The book’s training, I do low-information diet.
    But, cannot continue the. Is every day, find the opposite sex to at least two telephone number.
    Much trouble, maybe China more conservative than the United States.Maybe this is just my excuses. Maybe.
    I’m going to very perfect the phrase, however, I think there is no cause to chat up like crazy.
    I tried once, indeed, I feel the other side also think so.
    Then I think, simply say, I am doing a training, even doing a survey. But in the end I failed to complete the

    - – - – - – - – - – - please tell me, what is the purpose of the training. Like the previous “gaze”, etc. And

    then, I know that purpose, this, it seems to have the same, it is different.
    Can you use other alternative? This is the suffering.
    Or even if I know this is to overcome what kind of fear, can undertake another plan.
    = = = = = = = = =
    I don’t know how many Chinese NR. I think more and more people know this way of life and so of life.
    I don’t know if you can reply to this a message, but these puzzles is bothering me.
    I want to start NR life before, first to thoroughly understand it. Can help to answer me? Thank you first.

    In the future may open a NR club, ha ha.