Trump helps sell millions of books — pro and con

Fire and Fury,” “A Higher Loyalty,” “Fear”: three books about Donald Trump have each sold more than a million copies in the United States, a first that reflects Americans’ fascination with their ever-surprising president. The great majority of successful books on politics have been written by politicians themselves — or by ghostwriters working with them. Barack Obama set the standard in the genre, selling a combined 4.6 million copies of his autobiographical books “Dreams From My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope”.
In their time, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton and even Sarah Palin all topped the best-seller lists at least for a few weeks.
In 1976, Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward sold 630,000 copies of his “The Final Days,” chronicling the unwinding of the Nixon presidency. After that, however, there have been no chart-toppers about a president.
But in just nine months, “Fire and Fury” by journalist and author Michael Wolff, “A Higher Loyalty” by former FBI chief James Comey, and Woodward’s “Fear” have sold a combined total of more than five million copies. “I’m not surprised,” said David Corn, co-author of “Russian Roulette,” a book about Russian interference in the American presidential campaign.
“There is deep desire on the part of many Americans for an understanding of what happened in this country” during the 2016 presidential campaign, he said, and also of “what’s going on now within the Trump White House.”
Trump himself has, however unintentionally, helped promote these books — all of which paint an apocalyptic picture of his administration — by firing off highly critical Twitter messages about them.
“The Woodward book is a Joke,” he tweeted shortly before “Fear” was published, “just another assault against me.”
“I guess people want to see how bad it really is” in the White House, said Marianne Elliott, who is on a long waiting list at the New York public library to read “Fear.” Many opposition Democrats have been eager to read anything they can find about him.
“They want more bad information, to make you feel better because you know he’s terrible,” Elliott said. Several books favourable to the president have also done well — helped by Trump’s endorsements. “In our very divided society, people are feeling motivated by their political passion in deciding what books to read and buy,” said Corn. — AFP

Thomas Urbain