Less than 6,000 copies of the memoir of Deborah Birx, the Covid response coordinator under Trump, have been sold; The book of dr. Scott Atlas sold 27,013 copies; From the book by Dr. Ben Carson sold 21,786 copies; former White House press secretary-turned-Trump critic Stephanie Grisham sold 38,249 books; Counselor to President Kellyanne Conway has sold 42,273 books since publication in late March; and former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper sold 20,900 books.
Former Attorney General Bill Barr sold 64,103 books. But the only Trump post-White House book sales that did the best seems to have been that of Peter Navarro, whose “In Trump Time” has sold 80,218 copies of his book to date. The book, unlike the others, is not so much a revelation about life within the former administration as it is an ode to Trump’s approach to governance. Perhaps for that reason it has gained a lot of publicity in MAGA circles and is currently advertised on Steve Bannon’s The War Room website.
“Since he stepped down from office, Trump’s memoirs have not fared well,” said a top publisher, who was given anonymity to talk candidly about author sales. “Each of the people who have written a book so far told stories that we pretty much already knew.”
Bookscan data isn’t a complete record of a book’s success, as it covers about 70 percent of hardcover sales and doesn’t track ebook uploads and audio. Still, the numbers show a public turnaround for works by Trump-bound authors. After all, bad books from former Trump White House and government officials used to be a boon to booksellers.
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s book “The Room Where It Happened” has sold as many as 680,949, according to BookScan. And former FBI Director James Comey’s book, “A Higher Loyalty,” was also a success with 626,810 sales.
But those works benefited from timing and intrigue. Trump was at the White House, and the nation was eager to get a glimpse of how things really worked. Bolton’s book, in particular, benefited from his back and forth with the White House over whether he was revealing classified information.
Now that Trump has left the White House, publication success has become rarer.
In some cases, failure to sell Trump veterans’ White House books after Trump has raised the prospect that the publishing houses could suffer financial losses.
Multiple book editors and publishers interviewed for this story said the hefty advances doled out to authors before publication — some in the millions, like Conway and Barr — may not be recouped by the publisher through sales.
“Every White House memoir so far has been a loser except for Navarro. Meadows and Scott Atlas underperformed, and Barr, Conway, Birx and Esper lost money,” said another publishing industry insider, who was given anonymity to candidly. talking about authors.
“It’s boring people cashing in by saying the same things they’ve been saying all along. If you don’t have big news nuggets, and you don’t tell MAGA what they most want to hear, you’re wasting your publisher’s money. The amazing thing is that Conway, Barr, Birx and Esper got over 5 million [in advance money] between them.”
A representative for Barr said his book is still selling a few thousand copies a week and has sold a total of 140,000 to 150,000 copies.
A spokesman for Conway’s publisher, Simon and Schuster, said in a statement: “Since publication, ‘Here’s The Deal’ has appeared on several national bestseller lists, including the New York Times, where it ranked #1 on their combined reached the list. week on sale (and has been on the list for 3 weeks)…. We are very happy with the sale and expect the book to continue to sell through the end of the year.”
Grisham and a Meadows spokesperson declined to comment, while Atlas, as well as a representative for Carson, did not respond to requests for comment. Birx and an Esper spokesperson referred POLITICO to their respective publishers who did not respond to requests for comment.
While a strong position on the New York Times bestseller list — and healthy profits — is always a goal, publishing sources emphasized that they sometimes invest in authors for the sake of history and to ensure they publish books.
Two more books are on the way, though it’s unclear how newsworthy they will be. One belongs to former Vice President Mike Pence, who has been a subject of intense public interest over this handling of the January 6 riots. Another to be released in August is by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has been one of the White House’s top policy priorities.
Kushner’s book, “Breaking History,” from the conservative imprint Broadside Books, is promoted as a “true historical thriller” and “not your typical political memoir.”
“Political books from now through 2024 will have to have a real raison d’être for the market to exist…unless you’re someone like Maggie Haberman,” said another publishing company insider, referring to the star reporter of the New York Times that is expected to publish its book on Trump later this year. That book will likely feature some never-before-seen revelations, given that Haberman is one of, if not the best journalists on the Trump beat.
“The era of anyone who pays attention to cable news 24 hours a day because of the Trump administration, that is over,” added the publishing insider. “People are not as engaged as they were a few years ago.”
Despite the cooling of the Trump book market, one author in particular has been quite successful: Donald Trump.
“Our Journey Together,” a $75 hardcover collection of photographs from his time in the White House (taken by official photographers such as Shealah Craighead who did not get a share of the profits) with captions written by the ex-president has more than $ 20 million since its release in November, according to CNN.
Trump aide Sergio Gor published Trump’s book under the imprint of Winning Team Publishing, the publishing company he founded with Trump son Donald Trump Jr. He plans to publish Another Trump book this year.
“Conservatives have no interest in reading books perpetuating falsehoods about President Trump from disgruntled former administration officials,” Gor said. “These authors have no audience, because liberals never liked them in the beginning.”