Trump Books Are Selling: “You Hope He Hates Your Book and Tweets About It”

From a New York Times story by Elizabeth A. Harris and Alexandra Alter headlined “Trump Books Keep Coming, and Readers Can’t Stop Buying”:

Books about politicians and government are not considered surefire commercial hits. But since President Trump entered office, books about his campaign, his administration, his family, his business, his policies, even his golf game have poured out of publishing houses big and small.

And many of these titles have sold extraordinarily well. . . .

Early on in Mr. Trump’s presidency came the first big journalistic exposés, starting with Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” and then Bob Woodward’s “Fear,” which sold more than two million copies. Next came the insider accounts of the tumult within the White House from the many officials who resigned or were fired and sought to revive their reputations and fortunes with breathless, often news-making memoirs. Those included works by Anthony Scaramucci, who served for 11 days as the White House director of communications; Cliff Sims, another former White House communications aide; Omarosa Manigault Newman, former assistant to the president; James Comey, former F.B.I. director; John Bolton, former national security adviser; and Anonymous, a senior figure in the Trump administration.

If there was any concern that readers would grow tired of tell-alls, it has been relieved by sales figures. Trump book sales are still soaring: This summer, Mr. Bolton’s book sold more than a million copies, while Ms. Trump’s book has gone into its 20th printing.

“Political books broadly have worked more or less in proportion to how polarizing the figure that they orbit is, and you don’t get more polarizing than Donald J. Trump,” said Eamon Dolan, an executive editor at Simon & Schuster who edited Ms. Trump’s book. “However you feel about the president in political terms or existential terms for what he might do for or to the country, he makes great copy.”

Despite how divisive Mr. Trump has been as a leader, “Trump is a very unifying figure for book buyers,” Mr. Dolan added.

Indeed, there have been plenty of hits by conservative authors who support the president, including Edward Klein’s “All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump,” Lee Smith’s “The Permanent Coup,” Gregg Jarrett’s “The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump,” and David Horowitz’s recent book “BLITZ: Trump Will Smash the Left and Win.”. . .

Real-time political books detailing the inner workings of an administration have been a popular genre for decades, dating back to the Eisenhower era. But the volume of titles, and the audience for them, has surged in recent years. With the rise of partisan-inflected cable news, and the growing polarization of the media and the public beginning in the 1990s, when scandals surrounding the Clintons fueled fury on the right and defensive tactics on the left, publishers started releasing more partisan books in an effort to appeal to readers across the political spectrum.

The subgenres that have emerged — books that praise the president, books that criticize him, White House memoirs, journalistic narratives — have taken off to an unprecedented degree under Mr. Trump, said Jon Meacham, a presidential biographer and the author of books about Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt and George H.W. Bush. . . .

In the last four years, there have been more than 1,200 unique titles about Mr. Trump, compared to around 500 books about former President Barack Obama and his administration during Mr. Obama’s first term, according to an analysis by NPD BookScan. . . .

With just two months before Election Day, a bumper crop of Trump books is landing. Next month, Skyhorse, an independent publisher, is rushing out “Disloyal,” a memoir from Michael Cohen, the president’s former lawyer and fixer, who made explosive claims about Mr. Trump’s behavior in a foreword he released on his website. Skyhorse is anticipating a hit, with a first printing of 600,000.

Other significant Trump books coming next month include Mr. Woodward’s “Rage,” an investigative work that details Mr. Trump’s dealings with North Korea and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic; a book by Andrew Weissmann, the lead prosecutor in the special counsel’s office; a book about the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russia’s election interference by Peter Strzok, a former F.B.I. deputy assistant director of counterintelligence, and “Donald Trump v. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President,” by Michael S. Schmidt, an investigative reporter for The New York Times. A memoir from Rick Gates, a high-level aide on the 2016 campaign and a witness in the Russia investigation, is slated for October publication.

There is also “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady,” by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend and adviser to the first lady. She has said that she was forced out of the administration and “thrown under the bus” following reports about excessive spending on the inauguration, which she was closely involved in. . . .

“When Donald Trump recommends a book, it has little impact on sales, but when Trump hates a book, it rockets to No. 1,” said Matt Latimer, the Washington literary agent. “You pray for Trump to hate your book, and you pray for him to tweet about it.”

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