Trump fuels best-seller lists

Trump fuels best-seller lists
© Getty Images

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRed states find there’s no free pass on Medicaid changes from Trump Trump meets with Moon in crucial moment for Korea summit The Memo: Trump flirts with constitutional crisis MORE’s tumultuous presidency has been good business for book sales — and there’s been little evidence of a slide despite worries about saturation in the publishing industry. 

The proof comes from the best-seller lists where Trump-related books have held the top spot since January. 

Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury” landed at the much-coveted top spot on The New York Times best-seller list upon its release in mid-January. It remained there until it was bumped by “Russian Roulette,” a book that examines Trump’s relationship with Russia. 

ADVERTISEMENT

It was replaced by “Dear Madam President,” a book which delves into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton backs Georgia governor hopeful on eve of primary Pressure rising on GOP after Trump–DOJ fight’s latest turn Press: Why Trump should thank FBI MORE’s loss to Trump. And this week, James ComeyJames Brien ComeyMystery in Mueller probe: Where’s the hacking indictment? Press: Why Trump should thank FBI Trump administration sued for not releasing FBI morale survey results MORE’s “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership” secured the publishing crown, with more than 600,000 books sold.

The Comey numbers are particularly eye-opening, as Hillary Clinton’s “What Happened” sold 300,000 copies across all formats in its first week of release. “Fire and Fury” has sold 2 million copies so far.

Judith Regan, the famed book publisher and editor, said in an interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin last week that Trump-themed books have dominated the industry — to the detriment of people writing nonfiction on other topics.

“It’s a sad thing for people who don’t publish political books, because the truth is Donald Trump and the subject of Donald Trump has really sucked the oxygen out of the publishing business in the last year or two,” Regan said in the interview. “It’s very, very difficult for anyone who’s writing a nonfiction book about any other subject to get any attention. 

“Everyone is focusing on Trump all the time,” Regan added. “I think Donald Trump should write a book about marketing because he knows how to keep the reality show going. He’s very good at it.” 

At the same time, the continued interest in Trump books from top publishing houses has started to taper off, some in the industry say — in part because of a surplus of proposals and also the sheer volume of news unearthed since Trump took office. The dirty laundry normally reserved for tell-all, after-the-fact books has been making its way onto newspaper column inches and television airwaves.

“I've had conversations with editors who have said, ‘Please, no more Trump books,’” said Howard Yoon, a top D.C. literary agent, who represents "Russian Roulette" authors Michael Isikoff and David Corn. 

On the heels of Trump’s surprise win in November 2016, he said publishers “scrambled to sign up books as a form of activism or protest.”

“Since then, they’ve been much more cautious about moving into this space,” Yoon said.  

Another top literary agent who has managed political best-sellers insisted that publishers and even agents are getting more careful in representing authors with books about Trump.

“I’m really picky about Trump books because a lot of it is regurgitation,” the agent said.

“You gotta give people something they’re not going to get in the news and that’s becoming tougher and tougher to do,” the agent added. “And with this administration, things are changing so quickly.”

One top book editor said the bar for publishing a Trump book has grown exponentially higher and quipped that basically the only tome the publishing house would be interested in signing is one from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE, who is conducting an investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia.

But Joshua Green, the author of the #1 New York Times best-seller “Devil’s Bargain” examining former Trump strategist Stephen Bannon, said he believes the success of the recent books proves “there’s no sign that readers’ interest is waning.”

“I think it reflects the apparently boundless fascination with Trump and a collective desire to understand what is really going on behind the scenes first in the campaign and now in the White House,” Green said. 

Before his book was published last year, Green said his big fear was “that the public was so saturated with Trump coverage that nobody would shell out money to buy even more of it.” 

He said that fear quickly lifted after the book’s release. 

While Yoon said there’s less desire among publishers for Trump tomes, he said books written by people with inside accounts of the Trump administration continue to whet appetites.

A number of books are coming down the pipeline, including those by former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperFormer GOP Rep. Charlie Dent joins CNN Clapper: Trump’s tweet is a ’disturbing assault’ on DOJ independence Trump shares quote ripping Brennan: 'This guy is the genesis of this whole debacle' MORE and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeMcCabe lawyer fires back at Trump: 'You need to stop lying’ The Hill's 12:30 Report Trump: McCabe should be under investigation for ties to Clinton MORE, who was recently fired by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDOJ, Trump reach deal on expanded Russia review Sally Yates: Trump has taken his ‘assault on the rule of law to a new level’ Stopping Robert Mueller to protect us all MORE under pressure from the president days before he would have qualified for a pension.

And while speed is the name of the game when it comes to publishing political books on Trump, Yoon and other agents say there will be a string of books that will inevitably come out analyzing Trump and his legacy. 

“What will be interesting to see are the slow developing deeper dives that we will see come out of this presidency,” Yoon said. “There will be a book written five years from now that will be considered a classic must-read about this political era. We just don’t know what it will be and who will write it.”