Wednesday, November 11, 2020


Yesterday, Page Six at the New York Post reported this:
Donald Trump could land $100M book deal for presidential tome

With Barack Obama’s latest book hitting shelves Nov. 17, there’s buzz in politics — and publishing — that President Trump is being courted for a new tome on his time in the White House.

... One source familiar with the President told Page Six on Tuesday: “Trump is being bombarded with book and TV deals that could be worth a staggering $100 million.”

Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama inked a reported $65 million deal with Crown in 2017.

The source said Trump was also simultaneously being courted by far-right TV outlets, and, “book and TV deals are plan-B if he doesn’t win the vote war. Translate 70 million votes into viewers and record book sales. All the anti-Trump books have made big bucks, so this from the Donald is a surefire hit.”
I think this story, with its claim that Trump can get a better book deal than the hated Obamas, is part of Rupert Murdoch's effort to try to nudge Trump out the door. Murdoch is reportedly fed up with Trump, and he's ready for a Biden presidency, in which Fox News should do just fine as the media voice of the opposition. We know that Trump pays attention to the New York Post, or at least to items about himself that appear there -- it's one of the newspapers that's been delivered to the Trump White House every day.

I don't believe the $100 million figure. The $65 million deal for the Obamas' books was regarded as excessive within the publishing industry at the time, although Crown, a division of Penguin Random House, seems to have been vinidicated: Michelle Obama's memoir, Becoming, has been a massive global success, selling more than 10 million copies in 31 countries, and the first volume of Barack Obama's memoir, which will be released next week, is currently #1 at Amazon.

The Obamas appeared to be worth the money in part because Penguin Random House acquired global rights to the books, which meant the company had the right to either publish the books itself overseas or sell rights to the books. The Obamas are massively popular around the world. Donald Trump is ... not.

It's also likely that Trump would have fewer publishers bidding for his book. In a recent Politico Magazine story, Garrett Graff wrote:
The insiders I spoke to all squirmed at the possibility of their own houses tackling a Trump memoir. “There’d be walkouts, protests galore,” one editor said, pointing to the controversy earlier this year when publishing giant Hachette announced it would publish a memoir from Woody Allen. It backed down after widespread criticism and a staff revolt.

“I think a lot of publishers would stay away from it,” said one senior editor. “You wouldn’t have 10 publishers bidding—you’d have two and at that point, they can pay whatever they want,” says another.
I think a Trump memoir would sell well, at least in America and a few authoritarian countries. Trump's fans love him. Bulk buys won't be necessary to get the book to the top of the bestseller list, at least briefly.

But he's not the Obamas. He won't get $100 million. I think the Post's anonymous, possibly nonexistent source is wrong.

But if this fib helps get Trump out of the White House, I'm all for it.

No comments: