Trump Books Keep Coming, and Readers Can't Stop Buying
Since it was released in May, the latest book in the Hunger Games series, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” has sold 1.3 million copies, a home run of a bestseller by publishing's standards.
Mary Trump's memoir about her uncle, “Too Much and Never Enough,” outsold it in its first week.
Books about politicians and government are not considered surefire commercial hits. But since President Donald 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.
“No matter what your political position, there's really no doubt that the strong feelings around the Trump administration have pushed book sales in a way we've never seen before in the political arena,” said Kristen McLean, the executive director of business development at NPD Books, a market research firm.
Early on in 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 2 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.
“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 Mary Trump's book.
Real-time political books detailing the inner workings of an administration have been a popular genre for decades, dating to the Eisenhower era. But the volume of titles, and the audience for them, has surged in recent years.
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 Donald Trump, said Jon Meacham, a biographer and the author of books about Presidents 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 Trump, compared with around 500 books about Obama and his administration during Obama's first term, according to an analysis by NPD BookScan.
Some in the industry credit the soaring sales of political books with lifting the industry overall in recent months, despite the pandemic and economic crisis.
“When Donald Trump recommends a book, it has little impact on sales, but when Trump hates a book, it rockets to No. 1,” said Latimer, the Washington literary agent. “You pray for Trump to hate your book, and you pray for him to tweet about it.”
文／Elizabeth A. Harris and Alexandra Alter 譯／莊蕙嘉、核稿／樂慧生
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